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Floods and storms drive global insured catastrophe losses of USD 38 billion in first half of 2022, Swiss Re Institute estimates

Source: EQS

Swiss Re Ltd / Key word(s): Market Report/Research Update
Floods and storms drive global insured catastrophe losses of USD 38 billion in first half of 2022, Swiss Re Institute estimates

02.08.2022 / 10:01


  • Global estimated insured losses from natural catastrophes in first half of 2022 at USD 35 billion, 22% above average of past ten years (USD 29 billion)
  • Floods in Australia set new record for insured flood losses at close to USD 3.5 billion, the costliest natural catastrophe for the insurance industry in the first half of 2022
  • Secondary perils such as hailstorms and flooding continue to drive insurance losses globally, exacerbated by rapid urban development and wealth accumulation in disaster-prone areas

Zurich, 2 August 2022 – A series of winter storms in Europe, unprecedented flooding in Australia and South Africa as well as a high number of thunderstorms in the US and Europe resulted in USD 35 billion of insured losses from natural catastrophes in the first half of 2022, according to Swiss Re Institute’s preliminary estimates. Man-made events triggered an additional USD 3 billion in insured losses, bringing total catastrophe insured losses to USD 38 billion. The record-high temperatures in many parts of Europe may lead to further losses caused by droughts and wildfires. The severe weather events of the past six months once again highlight that natural catastrophes, particularly secondary perils, are increasing in frequency and severity in all regions.

Martin Bertogg, Head of Catastrophe Perils at Swiss Re, said: "The effects of climate change are evident in increasingly extreme weather events, such as the unprecedented floods in Australia and South Africa. This confirms the trend we have observed over the last five years, that secondary perils are driving insured losses in every corner of the world. Unlike hurricanes or earthquakes, these perils are ubiquitous and exacerbated by rapid urbanisation in particularly vulnerable areas. Given the scale of the devastation across the globe, secondary perils require the same disciplined risk assessment as primary perils such as hurricanes."

In February, a series of winter storms hit Europe and prompted estimated insured losses of USD 3.5 billion, bringing this key peril back on the insurance industry's agenda. In February and March, torrential rains led to widespread flooding in Australia. It set a new record for flood losses in the country at so far close to USD 3.5 billion. For the insurance industry, this is one of the costliest natural catastrophes ever in the country and the costliest event globally in the first half of 2022, in terms of insured losses. Floods in South Africa as well as in India, China and Bangladesh further confirm the growing loss potential from floods in urbanized areas globally.

In the first half of 2022, severe weather including hailstorms and heavy rain hit France, so far causing an estimated EUR 4 billion of insured market losses, based on data from the French Federation of Insurance Companies.

Two severe summer heatwaves resulting in record-high temperatures across Europe have sparked destructive forest fires across southwest Europe. The global average temperature for June 2022 was about 0.3°C higher than the 1991-2020 average, making it the third warmest June on record. As warming climate is predicted to exacerbate droughts, the likelihood of wildfires increases, causing greater damage where rapid urban sprawl overlaps the wildland-urban interface.

Jérôme Jean Haegeli, Swiss Re’s Group Chief Economist, said: “Climate change is one of the biggest risks our society and the global economy is facing. With 75% of all natural catastrophes still uninsured, we see large protection gaps globally exacerbated by today's cost-of-living crisis. Partnering with the public sector, the insurance industry is critical for strengthening society's resilience to climate risks, by investing in and underwriting sustainable infrastructure."

Global economic losses from natural and man-made catastrophe events are estimated at USD 75 billion in the first half of 2022. This is below the average of the past ten years (USD 80 billion).

Total economic and insured losses in H1 2022 and H1 2021
(USD billion in 2022 prices)

 

H1 2022

H1 2021

H1 previous 10-y avg

% change
vs 10-y avg

Economic losses

75

95

80

–7%

Natural catastrophes

72

91

74

–3%

Man-made catastrophes

3

4

6

–55%

 

 

 

 

 

Insured losses

38

49

34

11%

Natural catastrophes

35

46

29

22%

Man-made catastrophes

3

4

5

–51%


Note: Preliminary and, due to rounding, some totals may not correspond with the sum of the separate figures. Source: Swiss Re Institute

 

Disclaimer

Although all the information discussed herein was taken from reliable sources, Swiss Re does not accept any responsibility for the accuracy or comprehensiveness of the information given or forward-looking statements made. The information provided and forward-looking statements made are for informational purposes only and in no way constitute or should be taken to reflect Swiss Reʼs position, in particular in relation to any ongoing or future dispute. In no event shall Swiss Re be liable for any financial or consequential loss or damage arising in connection with the use of this information and readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Swiss Re undertakes no obligation to publicly revise or update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

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Swiss Re
The Swiss Re Group is one of the world’s leading providers of reinsurance, insurance and other forms of insurance-based risk transfer, working to make the world more resilient. It anticipates and manages risk – from natural catastrophes to climate change, from ageing populations to cyber crime. The aim of the Swiss Re Group is to enable society to thrive and progress, creating new opportunities and solutions for its clients. Headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, where it was founded in 1863, the Swiss Re Group operates through a network of around 80 offices globally.

Cautionary note on forward-looking statements
Certain statements and illustrations contained herein are forward-looking. These statements (including as to plans, objectives, targets, and trends) and illustrations provide current expectations of future events based on certain assumptions and include any statement that does not directly relate to a historical fact or current fact. Further information on forward looking statements can be found in the Legal Notice section of Swiss Re's website.



End of Media Release


Language: English
Company: Swiss Re Ltd
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Listed: SIX Swiss Exchange
EQS News ID: 1411253

 
End of News EQS News Service

1411253  02.08.2022 

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