9th January 2019

Munich Re estimates catastrophe losses last year at $160bn-50% insured

Munich Re comments that extreme storms, wildfires and droughts caused heavy nat cat losses in 2018, with the eventful second half of the year contributing to a high overall loss figure of $160bn.
Half of these losses were insured with the loss burden for insurers substantially higher than the long-term average.
Notably, there are clear indications of the influence that man-made climate change has had on devastating wildfires in California, which, like last year, again caused billions in losses in 2018.
“2018 saw several major natural catastrophes with high insured losses. These included the unusual phenomenon of severe tropical cyclones occurring both in the US and Japan while autumn wildfires devastated parts of California. Such massive wildfires appear to be occurring more frequently as a result of climate change. Action is urgently needed on building codes and land use to help prevent losses. Given the greater frequency of unusual loss events and the possible links between them, insurers need to examine whether the events of 2018 were already on their models’ radar or whether they need to realign their risk management and underwriting strategies,” said Munich Re Board member Torsten Jeworrek.

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