Munich Re:Tropical cyclones causing billions in losses dominate nat cat picture of 2019

Thursday, 9 January 2020

Munich Re:Tropical cyclones causing billions in losses dominate nat cat picture of 2019



  • Severe typhoons in Japan cause the year’s biggest losses
  • Hurricane Dorian, the strongest hurricane of the year, devastates the Bahamas – US mainland largely spared
  • Natural catastrophes cause overall losses of US$ 150bn, with insured losses of about US$ 52bn – In line with long-term average
  • Humanitarian tragedy caused by cyclones in Mozambique – Over 1,000 deaths – Better protection is urgently needed
  • The 2019 natural catastrophe year at a glance

    820 natural catastrophes caused overall losses of US$ 150bn, which is broadly in line with the inflation-adjusted average of the past 30 years. A smaller portion of losses was insured compared with 2018: about US$ 52bn. This was due, among other things, to the high share of flood losses, which are often not insured to the same extent as wind damage in most industrial countries.
    The insured portion of overall losses, slightly above 35%, matches the average of the past ten years. This is evidence that large sections of the market remain uninsured, especially in emerging and developing countries.
    Globally, in 2019, about 9,000 people lost their lives in natural catastrophes compared with 15,000 in 2018. This confirms the overall trend towards lower numbers of victims thanks to better prevention measures. On average over the past 30 years, about 52,000 people per year have lost their lives in natural catastrophes.
  • " The severe cyclones in 2019 have highlighted the importance of knowledge about changes in risk. Natural climate variations influence weather catastrophes from year to year. Longer-term climate change effects can already be felt and seen. Buildings and infrastructure must be made more resistant in order to reverse the increasing trend in losses. This will enable insurance to be more effective and support the remaining financial losses. 
    Torsten Jeworrek
    Member of the Board of Management

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