Global insured losses estimated to reach $US136 billion in 2017: Swiss Re

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria played a major role in the losses

According to preliminary sigma estimates from Swiss Re, global insured losses from natural and manmade disasters in 2017 are approximately US$136 billion—up from US$65 billion in 2016.

This is the third highest record for insured losses since sigma records began in 1970, and well above the average for the past 10 years.

Related: Hurricanes, earthquakes estimated to cost insurers US$95 billion: Swiss Re

“In recent years, annual insurance losses from disaster events have exceeded US$100 billion a few times,” Martin Bertogg, Swiss Re’s head of catastrophe perils, said in a news release.

This year, losses began piling up in the second half of the year, due in large part to hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, as well as the California wildfires. Natural disasters accounted for US$131 billion in insured losses, while manmade disasters accounted for the remaining US$5 billion. Much of the damage caused by the hurricanes was uninsured.

“The insurance industry has demonstrated that it can cope very well with such high losses,” Bertogg said. “However, significant protection gaps remain and if the industry is able to extend its reach, many more people and businesses can become better equipped to withstand the fallout from disaster events.”

Total economic losses for the year are estimated at US$306 billion, up from US$188 billion in 2016.

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