U.S. natural disasters dominated insurance losses this year, with the top five insured-loss events occurring in the U.S. between March and October of 2012, according to Swiss Re.
Topping this list are Hurricane Sandy -- with insured losses estimated at up to $25 billion -- and the widespread drought that has cost the country $11 billion in agricultural losses.
"Severe weather events continue to affect many parts of the world. Although insurance cannot bring back lost lives, many people and businesses can rely on financial relief from insurance cover, as is the case for the U.S.,” says Kurt Karl, chief economist at Swiss Re. “However, in large parts of the globe that are prone to severe weather events, people and businesses could increase risk-preparedness by eliminating underinsurance."
Other U.S. catastrophes this year included severe storms and tornadoes in March and April, costing $4.8 billion in insured losses, and a July derecho that caused $2 billion in insured losses.
This follows two years of historic losses arising from earthquakes and floods in Asia Pacific and South America. In 2011, earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand, severe flooding in Thailand and Australia triggered above $10 billion in insurance claims.
Insured and reinsured losses from catastrophic events reached $65 billion globally in 2012, which put it above the ten-year average. But the year was still well behind 2011, in which the industry experienced $120 billion loss.