Disasters caused less death and damage than usual in 2013: Munich Re

Tue Jan 7, 2014 5:03am EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Natural catastrophes like floods and storms claimed more than 20,000 lives and caused around $125 billion in damage worldwide in 2013, well below the average of the last decade, reinsurer Munich Re said on Tuesday.

The world's largest reinsurer said Supertyphoon Haiyan, which struck the Philippines, China and Vietnam in November, was probably the strongest tropical storm ever to make landfall and was last year's deadliest natural event.

The storm killed more than 6,000 people and underscored the need for better planning to protect people in emerging countries, Munich Re said in its annual review of natural catastrophes.

In contrast, planning and preparation helped limit the impact of winter storms in Europe at the end of last year.

"The losses remained comparatively low," said Torsten Jeworrek, Munich Re's board member in charge of reinsurance.

Flooding in central Europe in May and June topped the list of global economic damage last year at more than $15 billion, with the insurance industry paying out $3 billion in claims.

The most costly event for insurers last year was a set of hailstorms that struck southern Germany in July, damaging hundreds of thousands of cars and buildings and prompting $3.7 billion in insurance payouts.

Both the $125 billion global economic damage caused by natural catastrophes last year and the $31 billion in claims paid by insurers were below the average of the last 10 years of $184 billion and $56 billion, respectively, Munich Re said.

The number of deaths worldwide was also below the 106,000 seen on average over the last 10 years.   Continued...

A damaged fishing boat is seen in a devastated area of Magallanes town, Tacloban city, central Philippines December 24, 2013. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco