According to estimates from insurance giant Swiss Re, natural and man-made disasters caused $306 billion worth of economic losses worldwide this year. That accumulates to 63% increase on 2016 and higher than average over the past decade. Insured losses accumulated to $136 billion, higher than double the amount experienced 2016 and the 3rd highest amount to be recorded ever.
One of the key causes for the loss increase was due to extreme weather conditions that hit the Americas. Three hurricanes, namely: Harvey, Irma and Maria hit the U.S. and Caribbean, resulting to an estimated $93 billion of insured losses. In the meantime, wildfires continue to cause destruction in California. Elsewhere, two powerful earthquakes hit Tehuantepec and Puebla in Mexico in mid-September, resulting to a high death toll and over $2 billion in insured losses. Tropical Cyclone Debbie also caused substantial damage in Australia with insured losses accumulating to $1.3 billion.
Losses were the highest in 2011 at $440 billion, the year Japan was hit by the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami which caused the Fukushima disaster. 2008 was also particularly terrible with Cyclone Nargis killing more than 135,000 people in Myanmar, closely followed by an earthquake in China’s Sichuan province that left 70,000 dead. Economic losses for that year accumulated to $297 billion.