2011: It’s A Wrap

As 2011 draws to a close, there’s little doubt that the top insurance story — and one of the biggest stories in general — of the year involved natural catastrophes.

As I.I.I. president Dr. Robert Hartwig noted in his commentary on the P/C industry’s 2011 – First Nine Month Results:

The first nine months of 2011 have been remarkably violent in terms of catastrophes on a global scale. Megacastastrophes worldwide caused an estimated $350 billion in economic losses, shattering the previous record of $230 billion set in 2005. Approximately one-third of that total or $108 billion was insured, second only to the $123 billion recorded in 2005.†

The Insurance Information Institute estimates that catastrophe losses around the world shaved 0.5 percent off global gross domestic product (GDP) in 2011.

Not surprisingly then, there are a number of stories and reviews of this year’s catastrophic impact that are worth taking in before we let old acquaintance be forgot.

“How 2011 Became a ‘Mind-Boggling’ Year of Extreme Weather† is the subject of a PBS Newshour broadcast that aired December 28.

PBS asked Kathryn Sullivan, deputy director of NOAA and Jeff Masters, meteorologist and blogger with the Weather Underground site for their observations on what was an exceptional year of weather.

The  impact of catastrophes  stateside is the focus of  a fact-packed post over at Dr. Masters’ Wunderblog looks at how the year 2011 will forever be known as Year of the Tornado in the U.S.

Preliminary damage estimates from Munich Re put 2011’s insured losses due to U.S. thunderstorms and tornadoes at $25 billion, more than double the previous record set in 2010, according to Wunderblog.

In Catastrophes 2011: The Top 10 – Revisited, PC360 has updated its list of the top natural catastrophes of the year with data gathered from Swiss Re and catastrophe modeler AIR Worldwide.

And if 2011 didn’t give the insurance industry enough to think about from the catastrophe perspective, a Reuters article looks ahead to predictions for what may be in store in 2012.

Also check out I.I.I. facts+statistics on U.S. Catastrophes and Global Catastrophes.

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