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2012 was third costliest year on record for insurers

2012 was third costliest year on record for insurers

Insured losses from natural catastrophes and man-made disasters totaled about $77 billion in 2012 making it the third costliest year on record for insurers, according to research by Swiss Reinsurance Co. Ltd.

According to the Swiss Re research published Wednesday, economic losses from natural and man-made disasters during 2012 were about $186 billion.

Superstorm Sandy was the largest economic and insured loss, according to Swiss Re. It caused about $35 billion in insured losses and about $70 billion in economic losses, the Zurich-based reinsurer said.

Of that insured total, about $20 billion to $25 billion was covered by the private insurance market and the remainder by the National Flood Insurance Program, Swiss Re said.

“Sandy challenged the industry with its combination of record wind field and storm surge,” said Matthias Weber, chief underwriting officer at Swiss Re, in a statement. “The possibility that such events could increase in frequency and strike densely populated regions such as the northeast United States means that extreme storm surges need to be more thoroughly understood,” he said.

Nine of the 10 most costly insured disasters of 2012 occurred in the United States and included drought in the Corn Belt and severe storms and tornadoes, Swiss Re said.

A series of earthquakes that occurred in Italy in May were the only non-U.S. loss in the 10 largest.

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