Insurance Handbook

Natural Catastrophes: United States

Aon defines a catastrophe as a natural event that causes $25 million or more in insured property losses, or 10 deaths; or 50 people injured; or 2,000 filed claims or homes and structures damaged. Aon’s natural catastrophe estimates include Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and include losses sustained by private insurers and government-sponsored programs such as the National Flood Insurance Program. They are subject to change as loss estimates are further developed.

Natural Catastrophes By Quarter, 2021 (1)

(2021 $ millions)

Quarter Estimated insured losses
1 $20,261
2 15,041
3 46,816
4 9,891
Full year $92,009

(1) Natural disasters that cause at least $25 million in insured losses; or 10 deaths; or 50 people injured; or 2,000 filed claims or homes and structures damaged. Includes Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Includes losses sustained by private insurers and government-sponsored programs such as the National Flood Insurance Program. Subject to change as loss estimates are further developed. As of February 1, 2022.

Source: Aon.

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Natural Catastrophe Losses In The United States By Peril, 2021

($ millions)

Peril Number of events Fatalities Economic losses (2) Insured losses (3)
Severe convective storm 64 165 $37,250 $26,740
Wildfire, drought, heatwave 14 229 20,360 8,690
Flooding 12 33 7,020 2,850
Winter storm 4 230 24,790 15,520
Tropical cyclone 3 113 79,530 38,210
Total 97 ~770 $169,000 $92,000

(1) Natural disasters that cause at least $25 million in insured losses; or 10 deaths; or 50 people injured; or 2,000 filed claims or homes and structures damaged. Includes Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
(2) Includes any direct physical damage or direct net loss business interruption costs.
(3) Includes losses sustained by private insurers and government-sponsored programs such as the National Flood Insurance Program. Subject to change as loss estimates are further developed. As of February 1, 2022.

~ =Approximately.

Source: Aon.

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Estimated Insured Property Losses, U.S. Natural Catastrophes, 2012-2021 (1)

($ billions)

Year In dollars
when occurred
In 2021
dollars (2)
2012 $63.5 $74.9
2013 24.1 28.1
2014 23.2 26.5
2015 22.9 26.2
2016 31.6 35.7
2017 130.9 144.2
2018 60.4 65.0
2019 38.7 41.0
2020 81.0 84.7
2021 92.0 92.0

(1) Natural disasters that cause at least $25 million in insured losses; or 10 deaths; or 50 people injured; or 2,000 filed claims or homes and structures damaged. Includes Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Includes losses sustained by private insurers and government-sponsored programs such as the National Flood Insurance Program. Subject to change as loss estimates are further developed. As of February 1, 2022. Adjusted for inflation by Aon using the U.S. Consumer Price Index.

Source: Aon.

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The chart below shows insured losses for the top 10 U.S. natural catastrophes. According to Aon, Hurricane Katrina was the costliest natural catastrophe, causing $65 billion in damage when it occurred in 2005, including losses from the NFIP. Katrina would cost $85.6 billion in 2020 dollars. Seven additional hurricanes made the top 10 list, including Hurricane Sandy in 2012, which caused $30 billion when it occurred and Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria in 2017, each of which also caused about $30 billion in losses. Hurricanes Andrew, Ike and Wilma are also included in the top 10.

Top 10 Costliest Natural Catastrophes, United States (1)

($ millions)

      Estimated insured property loss
Rank Year Peril Dollars when
occurred
In 2021
dollars (2)
1 2005 Hurricane Katrina $65,000 $89,680
2 2021 Hurricane Ida $36,000 $36,000
3 2012 Hurricane Sandy 30,000 35,140
4 2017 Hurricane Harvey 30,000 33,110
5 2017 Hurricane Irma 30,100 33,000
6 2017 Hurricane Maria 29,500 32,400
7 1992 Hurricane Andrew 16,000 30,770
8 1994 Northridge Earthquake 15,300 28,360
9 2008 Hurricane Ike 18,200 22,540
10 2012 Drought loss 14,400 17,210

(1) Natural disasters that cause at least $25 million in insured losses; or 10 deaths; or 50 people injured; or 2,000 filed claims or homes and structures damaged. Includes Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Includes losses sustained by private insurers and government-sponsored programs such as the National Flood Insurance Program. Subject to change as loss estimates are further developed. As of February 1, 2022.
(2) Adjusted for inflation by Aon using the U.S. Consumer Price Index.

Source: Aon.

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