2013 Nat Cat Losses Below Average

Of the five costliest natural catastrophes for  the insurance industry  in 2013, only  two were U.S. events, though neither ranked first or second, according to Munich Re.

In its 2013 Natural Catastrophe Year-in-Review Webinar jointly presented with the I.I.I., Munich Re noted that hailstorms in Germany in July actually caused the highest insured losses of the year. This was also the insurance industry’s most expensive hail event in German history, costing $4.8 billion in overall  economic losses,  of which  $3.7 billion was insured.

Flooding in Europe in June was the  second most costly natural catastrophe for the insurance industry in 2013, causing insured losses of $3 billion, though overall economic losses from this event totaled $15.2 billion, making it the costliest natural catastrophe of the year in terms of economic losses.

With not a single storm of hurricane strength reaching the U.S. mainland during a quiet Atlantic hurricane season, the most serious natural catastrophe in the U.S. in 2013 was a series of  very severe tornadoes  in Oklahoma, according to Munich Re.

On May 21 a  tornado of the highest category (five), with wind speeds over 300km/h devastated the suburb of Moore. The overall economic loss resulting from the squall line totaled $3.1 billion, of which $1.8 billion was insured. This was the third most costly natural catastrophe for insurers in 2013.

In a year in which insured losses from natural catastrophes in the U.S. totaled $12.8 billion – far below the 2000 to 2012 average loss of $29.4 billion (in 2013 dollars), it’s interesting to note that insured losses from thunderstorm events exceeded $10 billion, despite the lowest observed tornado count in a decade.

Munich Re  reported that average insured thunderstorm losses have increased sevenfold since 1980.

Overall, Munich Re said economic losses from natural catastrophes worldwide in 2013 amounted to around $125 billion and insured losses  around $31 billion. These were both below the 10-year averages of $184 billion and $56 billion, respectively.

While floods and hailstorms caused double-digit billion-dollar losses in central Europe, in the Philippines one of the strongest cyclones in history, Supertyphoon Haiyan, resulted in a human catastrophe with over 6,000 fatalities, Munich Re added.

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