Insured losses from global cats falls to £43bn in 2019

Total global economic losses from natural and man-made catastrophes fell to around £107bn in 2019 from £134bn last year, with insured losses estimated to be around £43bn, down from £71bn in 2018 and below the annual average (£57bn) of the previous 10 years. As in recent years, secondary perils accounted for over half of the insured losses.

Natural catastrophes accounted for £102bn of this year's around £107bn in global economic losses. The remaining £5bn came from man-made disasters. Insured losses from nat cats fell to £38bn from £644bn in 2018.

Climate change is leading to more frequent and more severe secondary peril events, which manifest in different ways: more local flooding, torrential rains, prolonged drought, severe wildfires and other extreme weather events.

"There is more scientific evidence that climate change impacts the frequency and severity of secondary peril events today, warranting more focus for research. For primary perils like typhoons, science is far less conclusive", says head of catastrophe perils at the Swiss Re Institute, Martin Bertogg. "In addition, macro risk factors like rapidly growing populations and property values in exposed areas contribute to the increase in losses resulting from natural catastrophes globally, making past experience a less definite predictor for future losses."

Globally, more than 11,000 people have died or gone missing in disaster events in 2019.

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