Cost of global disasters ‘jumps to $306bn in 2017’

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Cost of global disasters 'jumps to $306bn in 2017'


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Hurricane Maria caused extensive damage in Puerto Rico which is still struggling to rebuild

Disasters in 2017 caused losses of $306bn (£229bn), according to estimates from insurance giant Swiss Re.

The figure represents a 63% jump from last year, and is well above the average of the past decade.

The Americas was hardest hit, with hurricanes in the Caribbean and southern US, earthquakes in Mexico and wildfires in California.

Despite the rise in the financial cost of disasters, there was no significant increase in the loss of lives.

Swiss Re said more than 11,000 people died or went missing in disaster events in 2017, which is similar to 2016’s figure.

Insurance coverage

A report by the firm’s research arm Sigma found insured losses amounted to $136bn (£102bn) – more than double last year’s total and the third highest on record.

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria together caused insured losses of about $93bn (£70bn) according to the the report.

But Swiss Re said the insurance industry had demonstrated that it could cope very well with such high losses, despite gaps in protection remaining.

“If the industry is able to extend its reach, many more people and businesses can become better equipped to withstand the fallout from disaster events”, said Martin Bertogg, head of catastrophe perils at Swiss Re.



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