Natural catastrophes made up the lion’s share of global insured disaster losses in 2015, but a man-made loss was the year’s costliest.
Preliminary estimates from Swiss Re sigma put insured losses from disaster events at $32 billion in 2015, of which $23 billion were triggered by natural catastrophes and $9 billion by man-made disasters.
The explosions at the Port of Tianjin, China in August are expected to lead to claims of at least $2 billion, making it the costliest event of the year and the biggest man-made insured loss in Asia ever, sigma said.
Some 173 people were killed and many more injured in the Tianjin explosions, which damaged and destroyed vehicles, shipping containers, production facilities and surrounding property.
The insured loss estimate is subject to a high degree of uncertainty due to the many different lines of business and coverage impacted, including potentially contingent business interruption, sigma noted.
An earlier report by Guy Carpenter has suggested potential losses of up to $3.3 billion resulting from the Tianjin explosions.
Insured losses from man-made disasters were up 30 percent in 2015 at $9 billion, from $7 billion in 2014, according to sigma.
However, at $23 billion natural catastrophe insured losses were below the annual average of $55 billion for the previous 10 years.
Losses were caused by various severe natural catastrophes across different perils in 2015, including windstorms, hurricanes, earthquakes, flooding and wildfires.
A February winter storm in the United States was the costliest natural disaster of the year, resulting in insured losses of more than $2 billion.
Low activity during the North Atlantic hurricane season kept the total global insured loss low, sigma noted.
Sadly, approximately 26,000 people lost their lives in disasters this year, double the amount in 2014.
Large disasters in other parts of the world contributed to the high level of fatalities.
The magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck Nepal and neighboring countries in April triggered a humanitarian catastrophe, killing around 9,000 people.
More than 5,000 people also died in waves of extreme temperatures during the summer season in India, Pakistan, Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.
And more lives were lost due to capsizing of many boats carrying migrants from conflict zones in northern Africa to Europe, often in unseaworthy vessels, sigma noted.
More facts and statistics on man-made disasters available from the I.I.I. here.