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North American insured catastrophe losses totaled about $18 billion in 2014, according to an analysis released Wednesday by Munich Reinsurance Co.
That was considerably below the 2004-2013 average of $38 billion in insured losses. The heaviest North American losses involved unusually cold winter weather. Heavy snowfalls and blizzards, particularly in the eastern United States, generated about $2.3 billion in insured losses, according to Munich Re.
Globally, insured catastrophe losses last year reached about $31 billion, only slightly more than half of the 10-year average of $58 billion. The costliest natural catastrophe for the insurance industry in 2014 was a winter storm in Japan, which led to insured losses of about $3.1 billion, the German reinsurer found. Although Cyclone Hudhud, which struck India in October, was the costliest natural catastrophe in terms of economic losses at about $7 billion, only about $530 million in losses was insured.
Catastrophe losses thus far in the third quarter have been “tame but growing,” according to an analysis by Philadelphia-based Drexel Hamilton L.L.C.