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Insured catastrophe losses up slightly; Tianjin explosions set a record for Asia

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Insured losses from natural catastrophes and man-made disasters totaled $37 billion in 2015, up slightly from $36 billion the previous year but well below the $62 billion 10-year annual average Swiss Re Ltd. said Wednesday.

However, total economic losses from natural and man-made disasters dropped to $92 billion in 2015 compared with $113 billion the previous year, Swiss Re said in its latest sigma study.

The biggest insured loss of the year, estimated at $2.5 billion to $3.5 billion, was a series of < a href="/article/20151108/NEWS06/311089979">explosions at the port of Tianjin, China, last August, the reinsurer said.

The event highlighted the accumulation risk in transportation hubs, such as ports, Swiss Re said.

The severity of the blasts and the can we say high-value assets that were exposed made the explosions the largest man-made loss on record in Asia and the third-highest man-made loss worldwide, following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States and the 1988 Piper Alpha oil platform explosion in the North Sea, Swiss Re said.

The biggest 2015 insured loss in the United States totaled about $2 billion, caused by a mid-February snowstorm that left damage in 17 states, Swiss Re said.

An earthquake centered in Nepal, which killed almost 9,000 people last April and caused economic losses of about $6 billion — including damage in Bangladesh, China and India — resulted in the largest loss of life last year, Swiss Re said.