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Swiss RE: Worldwide Insurance Lost Over 100 Billion to Disasters

  • By The Swiss Times
  • 26 March 2024

In a year marked by seismic and meteorological upheavals, global financial losses from natural catastrophes remained alarmingly high.

Swiss RE: Worldwide Insurance Lost Over 100 Billion to Disasters
Keystone/JUAN IGNACIO RONCORONI

Worldwide, natural catastrophes caused losses amounting to 280 billion US dollars last year, compared to 286 billion losses in 2022.

Of this amount, losses of 108 billion were insured, compared to 133 billion previously, as reinsurer Swiss Re announced on Tuesday.

This means that insured natural catastrophe losses exceeded the 100 billion dollar mark for the fourth year in a row, according to the Sigma study. The earthquake in Turkey and Syria was the most expensive, with losses estimated at 6.2 billion dollars. In 2022, Hurricane Ian in Florida caused particularly high losses.

Last year, however, numerous storms that were smaller than hurricanes, such as thunderstorms, floods and forest fires, caused major damage due to climate change.

This category led to insured losses totalling 64 billion dollars. Overall, the number of natural disasters reached a record 142 after 114 in the previous year.

More Severe Storms

According to Swiss Re, extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and more severe as temperatures rise. Losses are increasing primarily because the economy and population are growing, because more people are moving to cities, some of which are at risk, and more valuable infrastructure and materials are located there than before.

Higher insurance premiums alone could not cover the risk. The potential for damage must be reduced through adjustments, such as the construction of flood protection systems. Areas that are susceptible to natural hazards should not be settled.

©Keystone/SDA

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