Insurance tally for natural catastrophes hits US$28B in first half of 2016: Swiss Re

Total economic losses from disaster events were up 38%

A preliminary study from Swiss Re estimates the global insurance industry has covered 44 per cent, or US$31 billion, of total economic losses in the first half of 2016.

The total costs and damages from natural and man-made disasters reached US$71 billion during the period, up 38 per cent from the previous year. Insured losses were up 51 per cent from last year.

The company attributed most of the costs to natural catastrophes, which caused US$68 billion of the total disaster damage and accounted for US$28 billion of the accumulated insured loss.

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According to Swiss Re, the figures were largely due to thunderstorms in the United States. Three separate weather events, including large hail, caused $7 billion worth of insured damage. Europe experienced similarly severe weather with thunderstorms, flash floods, and river flooding in France and Germany causing US$2.8 billion of insured loss.

Other major events included major earthquakes in Japan and Ecuador, costing $US5.6 billion and US$400 million of insured damage, respectively. The Fort McMurray wildfire accounted for another US$2.5 billion of protected losses.

Swiss Re notes the totals may be subject to revision, with figures likely to be higher due to the ongoing hurricane season.

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