Energy & Environment

Insurance-covered losses from natural catastrophes worldwide totaled $120B in 2022: report

Natural disasters resulted in about $120 billion in insurance-covered losses around the world last year, according to a new report released on Tuesday.

The heavy losses in 2022 — driven by Hurricane Ian in the U.S. and several devastating floods in Asia and Australia — follow a “recent run of years with high losses,” the world’s largest reinsurer, Munich Re, said in Tuesday’s report.

“Climate change is taking an increasing toll,” Thomas Blunck, a member of Munich Re’s Board of Management, warned in a press release. “The natural disaster figures for 2022 are dominated by events that, according to the latest research findings, are more intense or are occurring more frequently.”

La Niña conditions, which have persisted for the past three years, have also contributed to 2022’s heavy losses by increasing the likelihood of “hurricanes in North America, floods in Australia, drought and heatwaves in China, and heavier monsoon rains in parts of South Asia,” according to Munich Re.

Overall, natural disasters caused about $270 billion in losses in 2022, down from $320 billion in 2021. However, insurance-covered losses were virtually the same between the two years.

Hurricane Ian, which pummeled Florida in late September, was the costliest disaster of the year by far, resulting in about $100 billion in overall losses and $60 billion in insured losses. 

Flooding in Pakistan was the second costliest natural catastrophe overall of 2022, with losses of about $15 billion. However, almost nothing was insured in the devastating floods that claimed more than 1,700 lives.

Australia’s floods were the second costliest disaster for insurers last year, with about $4.7 billion in insured losses between the flooding in February and March, as well as October.

The U.S. alone was hit by 18 separate weather- and climate-related disasters that cost more than $1 billion in 2022, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said on Tuesday.

Tags Australia Climate change flooding Hurricane Ian natural disasters Pakistan

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