Insurance covered half of global economic losses in 2018: report

The year 2018 wasn't such an expensive one for economic losses brought about by natural and man-made disasters, topping around US$155 billion, down from the US$350 billion in 2017.

The year 2018 wasn't such an expensive one for economic losses brought about by natural and man-made disasters, topping around US$155 billion, down from the US$350 billion in 2017, Swiss Re said in a recent report.

Natural catastrophes caused the overwhelming majority of damage (US$146 billion), while man-made disasters contributed to the rest (US$9 billion), the reinsurance giant predicted. About half of the losses were covered by insurance. 

Of the total economic losses during the past twelve months, US$79 billion has been covered by insurance, down from US$150 billion in 2017, but more than the previous 10-year annual average of US$71 billion.

In other words, more than 50 percent of all losses were insured, demonstrating again the significant contribution of the insurance sector to mitigating risk.

The reinsurance company added that globally, more than 11,000 people have died or gone missing in disasters in 2018, similar to the number of victims in 2017. The earthquake in Sulawesi, Indonesia last September had the highest human toll of the year, with over 3,500 estimated dead or missing.

Although there has not been a singular major natural catastrophe event in 2018, the combined losses from a number of smaller and mid-sized events, alongside some major man-made disasters, have caused sizable overall losses, the report said.

The Zurich-based insurer noted that losses from 2018 highlighted again the growing vulnerability of the concentration of humans and property values on coastlines, which will make those areas subject to severe losses once there are extreme weather conditions.

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