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Natural catastrophe insured losses down 38% in 2014: Aon Benfield

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Natural catastrophes caused total insured losses of $39 billion in 2014, 38% lower than the 10-year-average loss of $63 billion, according to a report published Tuesday by Impact Forecasting, the catastrophe modeling team of Aon Benfield Group Inc.

There were 258 natural disasters worldwide in 2014, according to the “2014 Annual Global Climate and Catastrophe Report,” compared with the slightly higher 10-year average of 260 events per year.

Global economic losses from natural catastrophes totaled $132 billion in 2014, 37% below the 10-year average of $211 billion, according to the report.

The biggest insured losses of the year both were the result of severe thunderstorms, the report noted.

Europe's Storm Ela in June, which hit areas of Belgium, France and Germany particularly hard, caused insured losses of $3.0 billion, while storms in the United States in May resulted in insured losses of about $2.9 billion, the report said.

Severe weather in Japan in February caused insured losses of $2.5 billion, the report said, while winter weather in the United States in January resulted in insured losses of $1.6 billion. Drought throughout the year in the United States caused insured losses of $1.5 billion.

“Global insured property catastrophes accounted for 8.6% of global property premium in 2014, compared with a 10-year average of 13.9%,” said Stephen Mildenhall, CEO of Aon Benfield Analytics, in a statement.

“The secular increase in catastrophe losses since 1980, which is broadly in-line with global gross domestic product, continues to be an engine of growth for the insurance industry,” he said. “With its abundant capital and sophisticated risk management tools, the industry is better positioned than ever to deliver on its core mission of providing critical risk transfer products that enable growth and development all around the world.”