ZURICH: Swiss Re says extreme weather in 2021 produced insured losses of US$105 billion – the fourth highest on record. Man-made disasters triggered another US$7 billion for an estimated global total of US$112 billion.
Insured losses from natural catastrophes were US$81 billion the previous year with man-made disasters adding a further US$8 billion. However economic losses from natural catastrophes totalled US$190 billion in 2020.
”In 2021, insured losses from natural disasters again exceeded the previous ten-year average, continuing the trend of an annual 5–6 percent rise in losses seen in recent decades,” commented Martin Bertogg, Swiss Re head of Cat Perils. “It seems to have become the norm that at least one secondary peril event such as a severe flooding, winter storm or wildfire each year results in losses of more than US$10 billion.”
The US experienced the two costliest natural disasters in 2021 with Hurricane Ida resulting in US$30 – 32 billion of insured losses and Winter Storm Uri a further US$15 billion.
The costliest event in Europe last year was the July flooding in Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and The Netherlands causing up to US$13 billion in insured losses and economic losses of over US$40 billion.
The reinsurer says the flooding was the costliest natural disaster for the region since 1970 and also the world's second highest after the 2011 Thailand flood that covered half the country, affected 12.8 million people and cost at least US$45 billion in damages.
”The impact of the natural disasters we have experienced this year once again highlights the need for significant investment in strengthening critical infrastructure to mitigate the impact of extreme weather conditions,” noted Swiss Re Group chief economist Jérôme Jean Haegeli. ”In the US alone, the infrastructure investment gap to maintain critical and aging infrastructure is US$500 billion on average per year until 2040.”
Story Type: News
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