Insurance Handbook

Key Facts

  • In 2021 insured losses from natural catastrophes totaled $130 billion, 76 percent above the 21st century average, and 18 percent higher than 2020, according to the 2021 Weather, Climate and Catastrophe Insight report from Aon.
  • Hurricane Ida was the largest insured loss event in 2021 and the fourth costliest hurricane on record with $36 billion in insured losses.
  • There were 20 billion-dollar insured loss events in 2021, the fourth highest on record. Insured losses of $17 billion from winter weather, was the costliest on record for this peril.
  • The $13 billion insured losses from European floods was the costliest disaster on record for the continent. Aon noted that roughly 38 percent of global economic losses were covered by insurance, translating to a protection gap of 62 percent.

World Insurance Losses

Natural catastrophes

Top 10 Costliest World Natural Disasters by Insured Losses, 2021 (1)

(US$ billions)

Rank Date Country/region Event Insured loss (2)
1 Aug. 27-Sep. 2 U.S., Caribbean Hurricane Ida $36.0
2 Feb. 2-20 U.S., Mexico Winter weather (freeze) 15.0
3 Jul. 12-18 Western and Central Europe Flooding 13.0
4 Jan. 1-Dec. 31 U.S. Drought 4.3
5 Dec. 10-12 U.S. Severe weather (3) 4.0
6 Jun. 17-25 Western and Central Europe Severe weather (3) 3.5
7 Apr. 27-May 2 U.S. Severe weather (3) 2.6
8 Feb. 2-13 Japan Fukushima Earthquake 2.5
9 Jun. 1-Sep. 30 China Season floods 2.1
10 Dec. 30-31 U.S. Marshall Fire 2.0
All other events       $45.0
Total 2021       $130.0

(1) Natural disasters that cause at least US$25 million in insured losses; or 10 deaths; or 50 people injured; or 2,000 filed claims or homes and structures damaged. Hurricane losses in the United States include National Flood Insurance Program losses. As of January 2022.
(2) Includes losses sustained by private insurers and government-sponsored programs. Subject to change as loss estimates are further developed.
(3) Includes severe convective storms such as thunderstorms, tornadoes and hailstorms, straight-line winds and flooding that could occur with these storms.

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: Aon.

View Archived Tables

World Natural Disaster Events Ranked by Number Of Perils and Insured Losses, 2021 (1)

 

Rank Peril Number of events Rank Peril Insured loss (US$ billions)
1 Severe weather (2) 135 1 Tropical cyclone $39
2 Flooding 133 2 Severe weather (2) 37
3 Tropical cyclone 37 3 Flooding 22
4 Winter weather 25 4 Winter weather 17
5 Earthquake 24 5 Drought 6
6 Wildfire 19 6 Wildfire 5
7 European windstorm 11 7 Earthquake 3
8 Drought 10 8 European windstorm 2
9 Other 7 9 Other 0
  Total 401   Total $131

(1) Natural disasters that cause at least US$25 million in insured losses; or 10 deaths; or 50 people injured; or 2,000 filed claims or homes and structures damaged. As of January 2022.
(2) Includes severe convective storms such as thunderstorms, tornadoes and hailstorms, straight-line winds and flooding that could occur with these storms.

Source: Aon.

View Archived Tables

Top 10 Costliest World Natural Disasters By Insured Losses, 1900-2021 (1)

(2021 US$ billions)

Rank Date Country/region Event Insured loss (2)
1 Aug. 2005 U.S. Hurricane Katrina $90
2 Mar. 11, 2011 Japan 2011 Tohoku Earthquake/Tsunami 42
3 Sep. 2017 U.S., Caribbean Hurricane Irma 37
4 Aug.-Sep. 2021 U.S., Caribbean Hurricane Ida 36
5 Oct. 2012 U.S. Hurricane Sandy 35
6 Aug. 2017 U.S. Hurricane Harvey 33
7 Sep. 2017 U.S., Caribbean Hurricane Maria 33
8 Aug. 1992 U.S., Bahamas Hurricane Andrew 31
9 Jan. 17, 1994 U.S. Northridge Earthquake 28
10 Sep. 2008 U.S., Caribbean Hurricane Ike 23

(1) Natural disasters that cause at least US$25 million in insured losses; or 10 deaths; or 50 people injured; or 2,000 filed claims or homes and structures damaged. Losses for hurricanes in the United States include losses for the National Flood Insurance Program. As of January 2022.
(2) Adjusted for inflation by Aon using the U.S. Consumer Price Index.

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: Aon.

View Archived Tables

Top 10 Deadliest World Natural Catastrophes, 2021 (1)

 

Rank Date Country Event Deaths
1 Aug. 14 Haiti Earthquake 2,248
2 Jun. 1-Oct. 31 India Seasonal floods 1,282
3 Jun. 26-Jun. 30 Western North America Heatwave 1,029
4 Jun. 1-Sep. 30 China Seasonal floods 545
5 Dec. 16-18 Phillipines, Vietnam Typhoon Rai 410
6 Apr. 3-12 Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Australia Cyclone Seroja 276
7 Feb. 12-20 United States Polar Vortex Event 235
8 July. 12-18 Western and Central Europe Flooding 227
9 Oct. 25-Nov. 30 India, Sri Lanka Flooding 217
10 Feb. 7-8 India Flooding 205
All other events       ~4,000
Total       ~10,500

(1) Natural disasters that cause at least 10 deaths. As of January 2022.
(2) Includes severe convective storms such as thunderstorms, tornadoes and hailstorms, straight-line winds and flooding that could occur with these storms.

~ =Approximately.

Source: Aon.

View Archived Tables

Top 10 Deadliest World Natural Catastrophes, 1950-2021 (1)

 

Rank Date Country/region Event Deaths
1 Nov. 12, 1970 Bangladesh Cyclone Bhola  300,000
2 Jul. 27, 1976 China Tangshan earthquake 242,769
3 Jul. 30, 1975 Taiwan, China Super Typhoon Nina 230,000
4 Dec. 26, 2004 Indian Ocean Basin Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami 227,898
5 Jan. 12, 2010 Haiti Port-au-Prince earthquake 160,000
6 Apr. 1991 Bangladesh Cyclone Gorky 139,000
7 May 2008 Myanmar Cyclone Nargis 138,366
8 Aug. 1971 Vietnam Vietnam floods 100,000
9 Oct. 8, 2005 Pakistan Kashmir earthquake 88,000
10 May 12, 2008 China Sichuan earthquake 87,652

(1) Natural disasters that cause at least 10 deaths. Does not include drought or heatwave events. As of January 2022.

Source: Aon.

View Archived Tables

Top 10 Costliest Global Tropical Cyclones by Insured Losses, 1900-2021 (1)

(2021 US$ billions)

        Insured loss
Rank Date Country/region Event Dollars when
occurred
In 2021
dollars (2)
1 Aug. 2005 U.S. Hurricane Katrina $65 $90
2 Sep. 2017 U.S., Caribbean Hurricane Irma 33 37
3 Aug. 2021 U.S., Caribbean Hurricane Ida 36 36
4 Oct. 2012 U.S., Caribbean, Canada Hurricane Sandy 30 35
5 Aug. 2017 U.S. Hurricane Harvey 30 33
6 Sep. 2017 U.S., Caribbean Hurricane Maria 30 33
7 Aug. 1992 U.S., Caribbean Hurricane Andrew 16 31
8 Sep. 2008 U.S., Caribbean Hurricane Ike 18 23
9 Oct. 2005 U.S., Caribbean Hurricane Wilma 13 17
10 Sep. 2004 U.S., Caribbean Hurricane Ivan 11 15

(1) Includes losses sustained by private insurers and government-sponsored programs. Subject to change as loss estimates are further developed. As of January 2022.
(2) Adjusted for inflation by Aon using the U.S. consumer price index.

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: Aon.

View Archived Tables

Top 10 Costliest Global Severe Convective Storms by Insured Losses, 1900-2021 (1)

(2021 US$ billions)

        Insured loss
Rank Date Country/region Event Dollars when
occurred
In 2021
dollars (2)
1 Aug. 2020 U.S. Severe convective storm  (includes Midwest Derecho) $9.2 $9.6
2 Apr. 2011 U.S. 2011 Super Outbreak 7.3 8.8
3 May 2011 U.S. Joplin Tornado/Severe convective storm 6.9 8.3
4 May 2003 U.S. Severe convective storm 3.2 4.7
5 Jul. 2013 Europe Storm Andreas 3.8 4.4
6 Dec. 2021 U.S. Severe convective storm 4.0 4.0
7 May 2019 U.S. Severe convective storm 3.7 3.9
8 Apr. 2016 U.S. San Antonio Hailstorm 3.2 3.6
9 Jun. 2014 Europe Storm Ela 3.1 3.6
10 Jun. 2021 Europe June 17-25 Outbreak 3.5 3.5

(1) Includes severe convective storms such as thunderstorms, tornadoes and hailstorms, straight-line winds and flooding that could occur with these storms. Includes losses sustained by private insurers and government-sponsored programs. Subject to change as loss estimates are further developed. As of January 2022.
(2) Adjusted for inflation by Aon using the U.S. consumer price index.

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: Aon.

View Archived Tables

Top 10 Costliest Global Wildfires by Insured Losses, 1900-2021 (1)

(2021 US$ billions)

        Insured loss
Rank Date Country Event Dollars when
occurred
In 2021 dollars (2)
1 Nov. 2018 U.S. Camp Fire $10.0 $10.8
2 Oct. 2017 U.S. Tubbs Fire 8.7 9.6
3 Nov.2018 U.S. Woolsey Fire 4.2 4.5
4 Oct. 1991 U.S. Oakland (Tunnel) Fire 1.7 3.4
5 Oct. 2017 U.S. Atlas Fire 3.0 3.3
6 May 2016 Canada Horse Creek Fire 2.9 3.2
7 Sep.-Oct. 2020 U.S. Glass Fire 3.0 3.1
8 Aug.-Sep. 2020 U.S. CZU Lightning Complex Fire 2.5 2.6
9 Dec. 2017 U.S. Thomas Fire 2.2 2.5
10 Aug.-Sep. 2020 U.S. LNU Complex Fire 2.2 2.3

(1) Individual wildfires. Includes losses sustained by private insurers and government-sponsored programs. Subject to change as loss estimates are further developed. As of January 2022.
(2) Adjusted for inflation by Aon using the U.S. consumer price index.

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: Aon.

View Archived Tables

Natural and man-made catastrophes

Swiss Re collects data on global insured losses resulting from both natural catastrophes and man-made disasters. Besides including man-made disasters, Swiss Re’s figures differ from Aon’s because Swiss Re uses different collection methods and criteria for classifying events. According to Swiss Re’s January 2021 sigma: Natural catastrophes in 2020 insured losses totaled $89 billion in 2020, the fifth-highest annual loss on sigma records, up from $63 billion in 2019 and above the previous 10-year average of $79 billion. Natural catastrophes caused $81 billion in insured losses, driven by the largest events, Hurricanes Laura and Sally and the derecho (straight-line winds) in the United States, and severe convective storms and wildfires in the United States and Australia. Many small and medium-sized secondary perils such as severe convective storms, which include tornadoes and thunderstorms, and wildfires accounted for more than 70 percent of natural catastrophe insured losses. Secondary perils are events that occur as a secondary effect of a primary event such as a tsunami following an earthquake. Man-made disasters caused $8 billion in insured losses. While the number of man-made disasters fell from 2019 to 2020 resulting from reduced economic activity from lockdowns imposed to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, insured losses remained at the same level as in 2019 due to the massive explosion at the port of Beirut and civil unrest in the United States that led to property damage in 24 states.

There were 274 catastrophe events in 2020, compared with 321 in 2019. Natural catastrophes accounted for 189 perils and 85 were man-made.