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Insured losses from natural catastrophes eased in 2015

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Global insured losses caused by natural catastrophes in 2015 were well below average and totaled about $30.5 billion, according to a report published Tuesday by Guy Carpenter & Co. L.L.C.

According to Guy Carpenter's Global Catastrophe Review 2015, the 10-year moving average for annual insured catastrophe losses is about $49.7 billion, and the five-year moving average is about $62.6 billion.

The deadliest catastrophe event to occur in 2015 was the earthquake that struck Nepal in April, Guy Carpenter said, with more than 9,000 people losing their lives and about 500,000 losing their homes.

An earthquake in Chile in September caused insured losses of $600 million to $900 million, the report noted.

Windstorms Mike and Niklas, which hit large areas of northern Europe in late March and early April last year, caused widespread damage. Storm Niklas resulted in insured losses of about $1.0 billion, according to the report.

Last year saw a record number of tropical cyclones in the tropical east Pacific, but a relatively quiet North Atlantic season due to a strong El Nino, Guy Carpenter said.

“As with typical El Nino years, wind shear was elevated in the Atlantic basin and even reached record levels in 2015,” James Waller, research meteorologist at GC Analytics, said in a statement. “The tropical Atlantic basin saw 11 named storms in 2015, while the tropical North Pacific basin saw the most active season in historical record, surpassing the exceptional 1992 season.”

Man-made events also leave their mark

Aside from natural catastrophes, there were some significant man-made losses during 2015.

The series of explosions at the port of Tianjin, China, last August caused insured losses of between $1.6 billion and $3.3 billion, Guy Carpenter said.

Other major losses included the loss of a TransAsia plane over Taiwan in February and the loss of a Russian plane over Egypt in November, according to the report.

And more than 130 people were killed in terrorist attacks in Paris in November.