Natural and man-made disasters caused about $40 billion in insured losses last year, according to an analysis released Thursday by reinsurance broker Guy Carpenter & Co. L.L.C.
That was considerably below the 10-year average of about $60 billion, Guy Carpenter said in its “2013 Catastrophe Review.”
“Last year will likely be known as the 'year of the flood,' with significant global flood events affecting Central Europe, Australia, Canada and the United States,” said Guy Carpenter Vice President Julian Alovisi in a statement.
“Although 2013 was relatively quiet compared to past years, several major events such as the tornado outbreaks in the U.S., floods, hail and windstorms in Europe and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines inflicted widespread devastation and significant losses on impact,” he said.
Although the 2013 North Atlantic hurricane season was one of the least active in recent years, the Americas sustained considerable insured losses from other perils. For example, in Calgary, Alberta, flooding caused an estimated $2 billion in insured losses, Guy Carpenter noted.
The flooding, coupled with flash flooding in Toronto in July, “meant Canada experienced its most expensive insured catastrophe loss year on record,” said Guy Carpenter in the statement.
And the United States sustained severe thunderstorm outbreaks, notably one in May that stretched across the Southeast, Midwest and Southern Plains and spurred the devastating Moore, Okla., tornado that caused insured losses of approximately $1.8 billion.
The report noted that Central Europe experienced the worst flood event of 2013, which caused about $4.1 billion in insured losses last summer. A series of hailstorms followed the flooding, with Hailstorm Andreas causing estimated insured losses of $3.7 billion. Windstorms later in the year added to the insured loss total, with insured losses from Windstorms Christian and Xaver totaling approximately $1.4 billion and $925 million, respectively, said Guy Carpenter.
In Asia and Australasia, the most costly man-made event occurred in China after a major fire hit a large microchip factory in September. Reports suggest that the cost to the insurance sector totaled $1.3 billion, “making it the most expensive single-risk loss of 2013,” said Guy Carpenter in its statement.
The report also noted that flooding in Australia caused insured losses of approximately $1 billion, according to the Insurance Council of Australia.
In the Northwest Pacific Ocean, there were 29 named storms, 16 typhoons and seven super typhoons, “with an explosive increase in tropical cyclone activity in the mid-to-late-autumn months,” according to the report. November's Super Typhoon Haiyan was possibly the most powerful tropical cyclone that made landfall on record, the report said, causing insured losses of $1.5 billion, according to the Philippine Insurers and Reinsurers Association.