Catastrophes: U.S.

2015 NATURAL CATASTROPHES

Insured losses due to natural disasters in the United States in 2015 totaled $16.1 billion, according to Munich Re, more than the $15.3 billion total for 2014. Severe thunderstorms losses, at $9.6 billion, accounted for about 60 percent of the 2015 insured losses.  Two tornado outbreaks in December in the southern states which killed at least 10 people each contributed to the high losses.  However, the 2015 thunderstorm losses were still below the 10-year average of $12.4 billion. Winter storms and cold waves caused $3.5 billion in insured losses in 2015, almost double the 10-year average of $1.8 billion.  Wildfires, heat waves and drought produced $1.9 billion in insured losses in 2015, below the 10-year average of $2.8 billion.The strong El Nino suppressed hurricane activity in the Atlantic Basin resulting in $60 million in insured losses, a fraction of the 10-year average of $6.5 billion.

2014 NATURAL AND MAN-MADE CATASTROPHES

Property Claim Services (PCS), a Verisk Analytics business, defines a catastrophe as an event that causes $25 million or more in insured property losses and affects a significant number of property/casualty (P/C) policyholders and insurers. PCS estimates represent anticipated insured losses from natural and man-made catastrophes on an industrywide basis, reflecting the total net insurance payment for personal and commercial property lines of insurance covering fixed property, vehicles, boats, related-property items, business interruption and additional living expenses. The estimates exclude loss adjustment expenses. P/C insurance industry catastrophes losses in the United States rose to $15.5 billion in 2014 from $13.1 billion in 2013, according to PCS, the second consecutive year of below-average losses. The number of claims reached 2.1 million in 2014, compared with 1.8 million in 2013. The number of catastrophes rose to 31 from 28 in 2013. Munich Re estimates shown below are for natural catastrophes only.

Below are charts from Munich Re, which include flood insurance losses in its calculations. The reinsurer estimated insured natural catastrophe losses in the United States for 2015 at $16.1 billion.

 

NATURAL CATASTROPHE LOSSES IN THE UNITED STATES, 2015

(Based on perils)

Source: © 2016 Munich Re, NatCatSERVICE; Property Claim Services (PCS)*, a Verisk Analytics business. As of February 2016.

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NATURAL CATASTROPHE LOSSES IN THE UNITED STATES, 1980-2015

(Overall and insured losses, 2015 $billions)

Source: © 2016 Munich Re, NatCatSERVICE; Property Claim Services (PCS), a Verisk Analytics business. As of January 2016.

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NUMBER OF NATURAL DISASTERS IN THE UNITED STATES, 1980–2015

(Number of events)

Source: © 2016 Munich Re, NatCatSERVICE. As of January 2016.

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NATURAL CATASTROPHE LOSSES IN THE UNITED STATES, 2006-2015

(Based on perils)

Source: © 2016 Munich Re, NatCatSERVICE; Property Claim Services (PCS)*, a Verisk Analytics business. As of February 2016.

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SIGNIFICANT NATURAL CATASTROPHES IN THE UNITED STATES, 2015

(Five costliest events ordered by overall losses)

Source: © 2016 Munich Re, NatCatSERVICE; Property Claim Services (PCS)*, a Verisk Analytics business. As of February 2016.

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U.S. CONVECTIVE LOSS EVENTS, 1980-2015

(2015 $ billions)

Source: 2016 Munich Re, NatCatSERVICE; Property Claim Services (PCS), a Verisk Analytics business. As of January 2016.

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U.S. TORNADO COUNT, 2015

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Weather Service.

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U.S. WINTER STORM LOSS TRENDS, 1980-2015

(2015 $ billions)

Source: 2016 Munich Re, NatCatSERVICE, as of January 2016.

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INSURED U.S. TROPICAL CYCLONE LOSSES, 1980-2013

Source: 2014 Munich Re, NatCatSERVICE; Property Claim Services (PCS), a Verisk Analytics business; National Flood Insurance Plan. As of January 2014.

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NUMBER OF U.S. LANDFALLING TROPICAL CYCLONES, 1900-2013

Source: © 2014 Munich Re, NatCatSERVICE; NOAA. As of January 2014.

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U.S., TOTAL CATASTROPHES

The Property Claim Services (PCS) division of Verisk Analytics defines a catastrophe as an event that causes $25 million or more in insured property losses and affects a significant number of property/casualty policyholders and insurers. The estimates in the following chart represent anticipated insured losses from catastrophes on an industrywide basis, reflecting the total net insurance payment for personal and commercial property lines of insurance covering fixed property, vehicles, boats, related-property items, business interruption and additional living expenses.

 

ESTIMATED INSURED PROPERTY LOSSES, U.S. CATASTROPHES, 2005-2014 (1)

 

Year Number of
catastrophes
Number of claims
(millions)
Dollars when occurred
($ billions)
In 2014 dollars (2)
($ billions)
2005 24 4.4 $62.3 $73.3
2006 31 2.3 9.2 10.5
2007 23 1.2 6.7 7.5
2008 36 4.1 27.0 29.5
2009 27 2.2 10.5 11.4
2010 33 2.4 14.3 15.3
2011 30 4.9 33.6 35.3
2012 26 4.0 35.0 36.0
2013 28 1.8 12.9 13.1
2014 31 2.1 15.5 15.5

(1) Includes catastrophes causing insured property losses of at least $25 million in 1997 dollars and affecting a significant number of policyholders and insurers. Excludes losses covered by the federally administered National Flood Insurance Program.
(2) Adjusted for inflation through 2014 by ISO using the GDP implicit price deflator.

Source: Property Claim Services (PCS), a Verisk Analytics business.

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TOP 10 MOST COSTLY CATASTROPHES, UNITED STATES (1)

($ millions)

      Estimated insured property losses
Rank   Date Peril Dollars when occurred In 2014 dollars (2)
1 Aug. 2005 Hurricane Katrina $41,100 $48,383
2 Sep. 2001 Fire, explosion: World Trade Center, Pentagon terrorist attacks 18,779 24,279
3 Aug. 1992 Hurricane Andrew 15,500 23,785
4 Oct. 2012 Hurricane Sandy 18,750 19,307
5 Jan. 1994 Northridge, CA earthquake 12,500 18,345
6 Sep. 2008 Hurricane Ike 12,500 13,639
7 Oct. 2005 Hurricane Wilma 10,300 12,125
8 Aug. 2004 Hurricane Charley 7,475 9,083
9 Sep. 2004 Hurricane Ivan 7,110 8,639
10 Apr. 2011 Flooding, hail and wind including the tornadoes that struck
Tuscaloosa and other locations
7,300 7,652

(1) Property losses only. Excludes flood damage covered by the federally administered National Flood Insurance Program.
(2) Adjusted for inflation through 2014 by ISO using the GDP implicit price deflator.

Source: Property Claim Services (PCS), a Verisk Analytics business.

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INFLATION-ADJUSTED U.S. INSURED CATASTROPHE LOSSES BY CAUSE OF LOSS, 1995-2014 (1)

(2014 $ billions)

(1) Adjusted for inflation through 2014 by ISO using the GDP implicit price deflator. Excludes catastrophes causing direct losses less than $25 million in 1997 dollars. Excludes flood damage covered by the federally administered National Flood Insurance Program.
(2) Includes other wind, hail, and/or flood losses associated with catastrophes involving tornadoes.
(3) Includes wildland fires.
(4) Includes losses from civil disorders, water damage, utility service disruptions, and any workers compensation catastrophes generating losses in excess of PCS's threshold after adjusting for inflation.

Source: Property Claim Services (PCS), a Verisk Analytics business.

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U.S. INSURED CATASTROPHE LOSSES, 1989-2015 (1)

($ billions, 2014 dollars)

(1) Does not include National Flood Insurance Program losses.

*Through 6/30/15 in 2015 dollars.

Note: 2001 figure includes $20.3B for 9/11 losses reported through 12/31/01 ($25.9B 2011 dollars). Includes only business and personal property claims, business interruption and auto claims. Non-prop/BI losses = $12.2B ($15.6B in 2011 dollars.) 

Source: Property Claim Services (PCS), a Verisk Analytics business; AonBenfield; Insurance Information Institute. As of June 2015.

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2014 CATASTROPHES

  • Texas had the costliest insured catastrophe losses in 2014, $2.2 billion, followed by Colorado with $1.7 billion, according to Verisk’s Property Claim Services.
  • The five states with the costliest insured disasters in 2014 had a total of $7.4 billion in insured losses, almost half of total U.S. losses of $15.5 billion.

 

TOP FIVE STATES BY INSURED CATASTROPHE LOSSES, 2014 (1)

($ millions)

Rank State Estimated insured loss
1 Texas $2,177.2
2 Colorado 1,702.1
3 Illinois 1,218.9
4 Pennsylvania 1,186.4
5 Nebraska 1,127.8

(1) Includes catastrophes causing insured property losses of at least $25 million in 1997 dollars and affecting a significant number of policyholders and insurers. Excludes losses covered by the federally administered National Flood Insurance Program.

Source: Property Claim Services (PCS), a Verisk Analytics business.

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TOP THREE STATES BY INFLATION-ADJUSTED INSURED CATASTROPHE LOSSES, 1985-2014 (1)

(2014 $ billions)

(1) Adjusted for inflation through 2014 by ISO using the GDP implicit price deflator. Excludes catastrophes causing direct losses less than $25 million in 1997 dollars. Excludes flood damage covered by the federally administered National Flood Insurance Program.
(2) Includes the other 47 states plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Source: Property Claim Services (PCS), a Verisk Analytics business.

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