Natural, man-made disasters hit $202bn in 2020 – Swiss Re

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Swiss Re Institute report shows that the economic losses generated by natural and man-made disasters reached USD202 billion n 2020. This cost increased by 48 percentcompared to 2019.

The economic cost of natural disasters amounted to 190 billion USD while man-made disasters reached 12 billion USD.

The insured losses totalled 89 billion USD, 81 billion USD of which are related to the damages caused by natural disasters and 8 billion USD of which caused by man-made catastrophic losses.

The Beirut port explosion is the highest man-made loss in 2020. The economic losses are estimated between 3.8 and 4.6 billion USD and the insured losses are believed to be around 1.5 billion USD.

The study, published on 30 March 2021, also emphasizes the magnitude of secondary perils defined as the side effects of a major disaster. The latter represent more than 70 percent of the amount of the natural catastrophe losses, that is 57.4 billion USD.

In 2019, the losses generated by secondary perils were established at 31.9 billion USD.

With a total of 274 natural disasters and 7 993 victims, 2020 is considered as the fifth most costly year for insurers since 1970.

The majority of rising losses resulting from natural catastrophes have been due to the rising exposure accumulation (human and physical assets) that has come with economic growth and urbanisation, the latest signs says. In the coming decades, climate change will be one of many factors contributing more to growing losses. In particular, as world temperatures warm, the frequency of and losses resulting from severe weather events will rise.

After two high-loss years in 2018 and 2017, economic losses from natural catastrophes and man-made disasters in 2019 were lower at USD 146 billion. The insurance industry covered USD 60 billion of last year’s losses, down from USD 93 billion in 2018, and also below the USD 75 billion average of the previous 10 years.

Once again, the effects of climate change were manifest most notably in intense secondary perils events in 2019. For example, the very heavy rains that came with Typhoon Hagibis in Japan, the storm surge after Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, and monsoon rains in southeast Asia, all these events resulted in widespread flooding. And, in eastern Australia, record-high temperatures kept wildfires burning across millions of hectares of bushland.

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