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Majority of catastrophes not insured: Swiss Re study


ZURICH, Switzerland—Developing countries with little insurance penetration bore the brunt of natural and man-made catastrophes in 2006, according to a study by Swiss Reinsurance Co.

Of the $48 billion in economic losses caused by natural catastrophes last year, one-third—$15.9 billion—was covered by insurance, notes Swiss Re's latest sigma study "Natural catastrophes and man-made disasters in 2006."

Natural catastrophes cost insurers $11.8 billion in 2006 and man-made disasters were responsible for $4 billion, according to Swiss Re. Property insurers saw their third-lowest losses of the past 20 years in 2006, attributable to a relatively calm hurricane season and the absence of major losses in Europe, the study reports.

Swiss Re is not optimistic that the trend will continue. Increasing property values and the effects of global warming are likely to result in higher losses in years to come, the reinsurer stated.

Copies of the report can be ordered at