Catastrophes: Global

Catastrophes: Global

WORLD, NATURAL CATASTROPHES

First Half 2014 Natural Catastrophes

Natural disasters worldwide caused about $42 billion in economic damages during the first half of 2014, well below the average amount of $95 billion for the same period during the past 10 years, according to Munich Re. Insured losses totaled about $17 billion during the first half of 2014, compared with a 10-year average of $25 billion.  During the first half of the year, 2,700 people died as a result of natural catastrophes, much lower than average (10-year average: 53,000). There were around 490 loss-relevant natural catastrophes. The highest economic losses arose in the U.S. (35 percent), followed by Europe and Asia (30 percent each).  Winter in North America brought extremely cold temperatures and heavy snowfalls over a long period in many parts of the U.S. and Canada. The losses from the winter storms totaled around $3.4 billion. Snowstorms also hit Tokyo and central Japan, with overall losses of around $5 billion and insured losses of more than $2.5 billion. The information was released at a Webinar hosted by Munich Re and the Insurance Information Institute on July 9, 2014. The full presentation is posted at http://www.iii.org/presentation/2014-half-year-natural-catastrophe-review

2013 Natural Catastrophes

Worldwide insured natural catastrophe losses totaled $31 billion in 2013, down from $65 billion in 2012 and below the $56 billion inflation-adjusted average of the last 10 years, according to a January 2014 presentation by Munich Re. Overall losses (including insured and economic losses) were $125 billion in 2013, compared with $160 billion in 2012 and the 10-year average of $184 billion, adjusted for inflation. There were 20,000 fatalities in 2013, compared with 9,500 in 2012 and far lower than the 10-year average of 106,000. Exceptionally high losses from weather-related catastrophes in Europe and Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines dominated natural catastrophes in 2013. Floods and hailstorms caused multibillion-dollar losses in central Europe, and Super Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest cyclones in history, caused over 6,000 fatalities.

The charts below show data on natural catastrophes based on an analysis by Munich Re. These charts are followed by a section, “World, Total Catastrophes,” based on an analysis by Swiss Re, which looks at man-made as well as natural disasters. This is followed by a section on "Man-Made Disasters".

 

WORLD NATURAL CATASTROPHE LOSSES, 2013

Source: © 2014 Munich Re, Geo Risks Research, NatCatSERVICE. As of January 2014.

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WORLD NATURAL CATASTROPHES, 2013

Source: © 2014 Munich Re, Geo Risks Research, NatCatSERVICE. As of January 2014.

 

 

THE FIVE LARGEST NATURAL CATASTROPHES OF 2013 BY INSURED LOSSES (1)

($ millions)

 

Source: © 2014 Munich Re, Geo Risks Research, NatCatSERVICE. As of January 2014.

 

 

THE FIVE LARGEST NATURAL CATASTROPHES OF 2013 BY OVERALL LOSSES (1)

($ millions)

 

Source: © 2014 Munich Re, Geo Risks Research, NatCatSERVICE. As of January 2014.

 

 

THE FIVE LARGEST NATURAL CATASTROPHES OF 2013 BY NUMBER OF FATALITIES (1)

Source: © 2014 Munich Re, Geo Risks Research, NatCatSERVICE. As of January 2014.

 

 

NATURAL CATASTROPHES WORLDWIDE, 2003-2012 (1)

(2012 $ billions)

        Insured losses
  Number of events Fatalities Overall losses Total 10-year average
Earthquake/tsunami 657 678,400 $489 $77.0 $7.7
Tropical cyclone (2) 424 65,500 539 234.0 23.4
Severe thunderstorm (3) 2,375 6,310 206 126.0 12.6
Heatwave/drought 207 132,600 (4) 118 22.0 2.2
Wildfire 524 1,270 27 11.0 1.1
Winter events (5) 401 13,000 101 44.0 4.4
River flood/flash flood (6) 2,458 54,600 274 48.0 4.8

(1) As of July 2013.
(2) Includes flooding caused by hurricanes and other tropical cyclones. Includes U.S. National Flood Insurance Program losses.
(3) Includes tornadoes.
(4) Famine deaths not considered.
(5) Includes winter storms, winter damage, and blizzards.
(6) Excludes flood damage losses caused by tropical cyclones and hurricanes.

Source: © 2013 Munich Re, Geo Risks Research, NatCatSERVICE.

 

 

WORLD NATURAL CATASTROPHE LOSSES, 1980–2013

(Overall and insured losses)

Source: © 2014 Munich Re, Geo Risks Research, NatCatSERVICE. As of January 2014.

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WORLD NATURAL CATASTROPHES, 1980–2013

(Number of events)

Source: © 2014 Munich Re, Geo Risks Research, NatCatSERVICE. As of January 2014.

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WORLD, TOTAL CATASTROPHES (NATURAL DISASTERS AND MAN-MADE DISASTERS)

Natural catastrophes and man-made disasters resulted in $45 billion in insured losses in 2013, down from $81 billion in 2012 mainly because of a quiet hurricane season in the United States, according to Swiss Re. Worldwide natural catastrophes caused $37 billion in insured losses. Europe experienced the two most expensive natural disasters of 2013—massive flooding in central and eastern Europe in May and June that resulted in extensive damage in Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland and hailstorms that hit France and Germany in July. Germany bore the brunt of these storms, which caused insured losses of $3.8 billion, the largest worldwide for a hail event on record. Asia was hardest hit by natural catastrophes as Typhoon Haiyan, with some of the strongest winds ever recorded, killed about 7,500 people and left more than 4 million homeless.

 

GLOBAL CATASTROPHES, 2013

  Number of incidents Deaths Insured loss ($ millions)
Floods 53 8,633 $9,137
Storms 60 8,344 20,819
Earthquakes 12 1,095 45
Drought, bush fires, heat waves 8 1,335 609
Cold, frost 5 727 139
Hail 8 NA 6,164
Other natural catastrophes 4 67 134
Total natural catastrophes 150 20,201 $37,047
Man-made disasters 158 5,702 $7,870
All natural catatrophes (1) 308 25,903 $44,917

(1) Based on events classified by Swiss Re as a catastrophe. The threshold is $19.3 million in insured losses for maritime disasters, $38.6 million for aviation disasters and $48.0 million for other losses or $96 million in total economic losses; or at least 20 dead or missing, 50 injured or 2,000 made homeless.

NA=Data not available.

Source: Swiss Re, sigma, 1/2014.

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THE TWENTY MOST COSTLY WORLD INSURANCE LOSSES, 2013 (1)

($ millions)

Rank Date Country Event Insured loss in U.S. dollars
1 May 27 Germany, et al. Floods $4,134
2 Jul. 27 Germany, France Hailstorms 3,838
3 Jun. 19 Canada Floods 1,882
4 May 18 U.S. Severe thunderstorms, tornadoes (EF5 tornado in Moore, OK) 1,776
5 Mar. 18 U.S. Thunderstorms, tornadoes, hail 1,615
6 Nov. 8 Phillipines, et al. Typhoon Haiyan, storm surge 1,486
7 Oct. 27 Germany, et al. Windstorm Christian (St. Jude) 1,471
8 May 28 U.S. Severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, large hail 1,425
9 Apr. 7 U.S. Winter storm, ice, tornadoes, heavy rains 1,204
10 Sep. 29 China, Japan Typhoon Fitow 1,133
11 Apr. 2 Argentina Large fire at refinery NA
12 Dec. 5 U.K., et al. Windstorm Xaver 1,034
13 Jan. 21 Australia Floods caused by cyclone Oswald 983
14 Sep. 13 Mexico Hurricane Manuel 947
15 Nov. 17 U.S. Thunderstorms, tornadoes (2 EF4) with winds up to 305 km/h 931
16 Apr. 10 U.S. Collapse of pit wall at copper mine due to landslide NA
17 Sep. 4 China Fire at major high-tech semiconductor plant NA
18 Jul. 8 Canada Severe storms, flooding 888
19 Jun. 20 Germany Hailstorms 827
20 Aug. 6 U.S. Thunderstorms, hail, tornadoes 805

(1) Property and business interruption losses, excluding life and liability losses. Includes flood losses in the U.S. insured via the National Flood Insurance Program. Loss data shown here may differ from figures shown elsewhere for the same event due to differences in the date of publication, the geographical area covered and other criteria used by organizations collecting the data.

NA=Data not available.

Source: Swiss Re, sigma, No. 1/2014; The Property Claim Services® (PCS®) unit of ISO®, a Verisk Analytics® company, insured losses for natural catastrophes in the United States.

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THE TEN DEADLIEST WORLD CATASTROPHES, 2013

Rank Date Country Event Victims (1)
1 Nov. 8 Philippines, et al. Typhoon Haiyan, storm surge 7,345
2 Jun. 14 India Floods caused by heavy monsoon rains 5,748
3 Apr. 24 Bangladesh Eight-story garment factory collapses 1,127
4 Aug. 6 U.K. Heat wave 760
5 Apr. 1 India Heat wave 531
6 Sep. 24 Pakistan Earthquake Mw 7.7, aftershocks 399
7 Jan. 1 India, et al. Cold wave 388
8 Oct. 3 Mediterranean Sea, Italy Boat carrying immigrants catches fire and capsizes 366
9 Aug. 24 Peru Heavy snowfall, freezing temperatures 275
10 Jan. 17 Mozambique, Zimbabwe Floods caused by heavy seasonal rains 246

(1) Dead and missing.

Source: Swiss Re, sigma, No. 1/2014.

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WORLD INSURED CATASTROPHE LOSSES, 2004-2013 (1)

(2013 $ millions)

  Weather-related
natural catastrophes
Earthquakes/
tsunamis
Man-made
disasters
Total
2004 $51,954 $3,278 $4,221 $59,453
2005 120,755 279 6,559 127,594
2006 14,293 94 5,897 20,284
2007 25,530 548 6,536 32,614
2008 45,196 456 9,086 54,739
2009 23,330 662 4,575 28,568
2010 30,601 14,415 5,101 50,118
2011 67,281 55,562 6,180 129,024
2012 70,493 1,865 6,049 78,408
2013 37,002 45 7,870 44,917

(1) In order to maintain comparability of the data over the course of time, the minimum threshold for losses was adjusted annually to compensate for inflation in the United Sates. Adjusted to 2013 dollars by Swiss Re.

Source: Swiss Re.

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THE TEN MOST COSTLY WORLD INSURANCE LOSSES, 1970-2013 (1)

(2013 $ millions)

Rank Date Country Event Insured loss (2)
1 Aug. 25, 2005 U.S., Gulf of Mexico,
Bahamas, North Atlantic
Hurricane Katrina, storm surge, levee failure,
damage to oil rigs
$80,373
2 Mar. 11, 2011 Japan Earthquake (Mw 9.0) triggers tsunami, aftershocks 37,665
3 Oct. 24, 2012 U.S., et al. Hurricane Sandy, storm surge 36,890
4 Aug. 23, 1992 U.S., Bahamas Hurricane Andrew, floods 27,594
5 Sep. 11, 2001 U.S. Terror attacks on WTC, Pentagon
and other buildings
25,664
6 Jan. 17, 1994 U.S. Northridge earthquake (M 6.6) 22,857
7 Sep. 6, 2008 U.S., Caribbean: Gulf of
Mexico, et al.
Hurricane Ike, floods, offshore damage 22,751
8 Sep. 2, 2004 U.S., Caribbean; Barbados, et al. Hurricane Ivan, damage to oil rigs 17,218
9 Jul. 27, 2011 Thailand Floods caused by heavy monsoon rains 16,519
10 Feb. 22, 2011 New Zealand Earthquake (Mw 6.3), aftershocks 16,142

(1) Property and business interruption losses, excludes life and liability losses. Includes flood losses in the United States insured via the National Flood Insurance Program.
(2) Adjusted to 2013 dollars by Swiss Re.

Note: Loss data shown here may differ from figures shown elsewhere for the same event due to differences in the date of publication, the geographical area covered and other criteria used by organizations collecting the data.

Source: Swiss Re, sigma, No. 1/2014.

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THE TEN DEADLIEST WORLD CATASTROPHES, 1970-2013

Rank Date Country Event Victims (1)
1 Nov. 14, 1970 Bangladesh, Bay of Bengal Storm and flood catastrophe 300,000
2 Jul. 28, 1976 China Earthquake (Mw 7.5) 255,000
3 Jan. 12, 2010 Haiti Earthquake (Mw 7.0) 222,570
4 Dec. 26, 2004 Indonesia, Thailand et al. Earthquake (Mw 9), tsunami in Indian Ocean 220,000
5 May 2, 2008 Myanmar (Burma), Bay of Bengal Tropical cyclone Nargis, Irrawaddy Delta flooded 138,300
6 Apr. 29, 1991 Bangladesh Tropical cyclone Gorky 138,000
7 May 12, 2008 China Earthquake (Mw 7.9) in Sichuan, aftershocks 87,449
8 Oct. 8, 2005 Pakistan, India, Afghanistan Earthquake (Mw 7.6), aftershocks, landslides 73,300
9 May 31, 1970 Peru Earthquake (M 7.7), rock slides 66,000
10 Jun. 15, 2010 Russia Heat wave in Russia 55,630

(1) Dead and missing.

Source: Swiss Re, sigma, No. 1/2014.

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MAN-MADE DISASTERS

In 2013, 308 catastrophic events occurred, including 150 natural catastrophes and 158 man-made disasters, according to Swiss Re. Natural catastrophes caused about $37 billion in insured losses in 2013, while man-made disasters resulted in additional losses of about $8 billion. The costliest man-made disaster in 2013 was a fire that destroyed a cargo vessel in the Indian Ocean near Bahrain, which caused $300 million in insured damages. The September 11 terrorist attack in the U.S. was costliest man-made disaster in history, based on Swiss Re data going back to 1970. It caused $25 billion in insured losses (in 2013 dollars). A fire in a  garment factory in Bangladesh in April resulted in 1,127 deaths, making it one of the world’s deadliest industrial fires in modern history.

 

MAN-MADE DISASTERS, 2013

  Number of incidents Deaths Insured loss ($ millions)
All man-made disasters (1) 158 5,702 $7, 870
       
Major fires, explosions 51 2,113 $5,148
Industry, warehouses 18 1,276 2,081
Oil, gas 17 98 2,991
Department stores 1 54 NA
Other buildings 11 615 76
Other fires, explosions 4 70 NA
Aviation  disasters 11 176 $814
Crashes 9 176 408
Space 2 NA 406
Maritime disasters 25 1,135 $814
Freighters 2 NA 54
Passenger ships 16 1,079 20
Drilling platforms 3 1 453
Other maritime accidents 4 55 287
Rail disasters (includes cableways) 13 231 $98
Mining accidents 11 447 $920
Collapse of buildings/bridges 1 21 NA
Miscellaneous 46 1,579 $76
Social unrest 8 121 NA
Terrorism 34 1,192 76
Other miscellaneous losses 4 266 NA

(1) Based on events classified by Swiss Re as a catastrophe. The threshold is $19.3 million in insured losses for maritime disasters, $38.6 million for aviation disasters and $48.0 million for other losses or $96 million in total economic loss; or at least 20 dead or missing, 50 injured or 2,000 made homeless.

NA=Data not available.

Source: Swiss Re, sigma, 1/2014.

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TOP 20 WORLD PROPERTY DAMAGE LOSSES IN THE HYDROCARBON INDUSTRY (1)

(US $ millions)

Rank Date Plant type Event type Location Country Property loss (2)
1 Jul. 7, 1988 Upstream Explosion/fire Piper Alpha, North Sea U.K. $1,810
2 Oct. 23,1989 Petrochem Vapour cloud explosion Pasadena, Texas U.S. 1,400
3 Jan. 19, 2004 Gas processing Explosion/fire Skikda Algeria 940
4 Jun. 4, 2009 Upstream Collision Norwegian Sector North Sea 840
5 Mar. 19, 1989 Upstream Explosion/fire Gulf of Mexico U.S. 830
6 Jun. 25, 2000 Refinery Explosion/fire Mina Al-Ahmadi Kuwait 820
7 May 15, 2001 Upstream Explosion/fire/sinking Campos Basin Brasil 790
8 Sep. 25, 1998 Gas processing Explosion Longford, Victoria Australia 750
9 Apr. 24, 1988 Upstream Blowout Enchova, Campos Basin Brazil 700
10 Sep. 21, 2001 Petrochemical Explosion Toulouse France 680
11 May 4, 1988 Petrochemical Explosion Henderson, Nevada U.S. 640
12 May 5, 1988 Refinery Vapour cloud explosion Norco, Louisiana U.S. 610
13 Mar. 11, 2011  Refinery Earthquake (3) Sendai Japan 600
14 Apr. 21, 2010 Upstream Blowout/explosion/fire Gulf of Mexico U.S. 600
15 Sep. 12, 2008 Refinery Hurricane Texas U.S. 550
16 Jun. 13, 2013 Petrochemical Explosion/fire Geismar, Louisiana U.S. 510
17 Apr. 2, 2013 Refinery Flooding/fire La Plata, Ensenada Argentina 500 (4)
18 Dec. 25, 1997 Gas processing Explosion/fire Bintulu, Sarawak Malaysia 490
19 Jul. 27, 2005 Upstream Collision/fire Mumbai High North Field India 480
20 Nov. 14, 1987 Petrochemical Vapour cloud explosion Pampa, Texas USA 480

(1) Property damage, debris removal and clean-up costs.
(2) Inflated to December 2013 values.
(3) Loss to refinery following the Tohuku earthquake.
(4) Preliminary.

Source: Energy Practice, Marsh & McLennan Companies.

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NUCLEAR INCIDENTS

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) rates the severity of nuclear incidents on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES) from one (indicating an anomaly) to seven (indicating a major event). The scale considers an event’s impact based on three criteria: its effect on people and the environment; whether it caused unsafe levels of radiation in a facility; and if preventive measures did not function as intended. Scales six and seven designate full meltdowns, where the nuclear fuel reactor core overheats and melts. Partial meltdowns, in which the fuel is damaged, are rated four or five.

Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency assigned a provisional rating of seven to the March 2011 accident at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The 1986 Chernobyl accident in the former Soviet Union is the only other incident to rate a seven. The Chernobyl incident killed 56 people directly and thousands of others through cancer and other diseases. The 2011 incident released high amounts of radiation and caused widespread evacuations in affected areas but no deaths to date.

The 1979 Three Mile Island accident in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the worst nuclear accident in the U.S., was designated a five. Insurers paid about $71 million in liability claims and litigation costs associated with the accident. In addition to the liability payments to the public under the Price-Anderson Act, $300 million was paid by a pool of insurers to the operator of the damaged nuclear power plant under its property insurance policy.

 

SELECTED EXAMPLES OF HISTORIC NUCLEAR EVENTS, CLASSIFIED BY THE INES (1)

Level INES description Example
1 Anomaly Breach of operating limits at nuclear facilities
2 Incident Atucha, Argentina, 2005 - Overexposure of a worker at a power reactor exceeding the annual limit
3 Serious incident Sellafield, U.K., 2005 - Release of large quantity of radioactive material, contained within the installation
4 Accident with local consequences Tokaimura, Japan, 1999 - Fatal exposure of workers following an event at a nuclear facility
5 Accident with wider consequences 3 Mile Island, U.S., 1979 - Severe damage to reactor core. Minimal breach of outside environment
6 Serious accident Kyshtym, Russia, 1957 - Significant release of radioactive material from the explosion of high activity waste tank
7 Major accident Chernobyl, Ukraine, 1986 - Widespread health and environmental effects from explosion in power plant

(1) International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale.

Source: International Atomic Energy Agency.

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