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Improved prevention measures kept 2013 flood losses in check: Munich Re


Floods were the largest contributor to insured natural catastrophe losses in 2013, but preventive measures meant that losses were far lower than they might have been, according to a report by Munich Reinsurance Co. published Tuesday.

According to the report, “Topics GEO — Natural catastrophes 2013,” economic losses from natural disasters in 2013 totalled $135 billion, and floods accounted for 37% of that amount.

Insured losses from natural catastrophes in 2013 were $35 billion, the report noted.

The most costly natural disaster for the insurance industry in 2013 was the floods that hit Germany and other parts of central and eastern Europe in June, which resulted in insured losses of €2.4 billion ($3.30 billion) and economic losses of €11.7 billion, ($16.09 billion) according to the report.

Flooding of the river Elbe in 2002, however, caused economic losses of €17 billion, ($23.38 billion) Munich Re said, and the lower bill in 2013 was thanks in part to better flood control structures and risk management plans.


There were several other severe flooding events around the world in 2013, according to the report, including floods in the Indian state of Uttarakhand in which 5,500 people died, floods in the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Ontario, which caused insured losses of $1.6 billion, and flooding in Colorado in September which resulted in insured losses of $1.5 billion.

The largest humanitarian catastrophe in 2013 was Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest ever cyclone to make landfall, known as a super typhoon, which hit the Philippines in November.

The typhoon killed more than 6,000 people, injured about 27,000 and left almost 1,700 missing. Insured losses were relatively low, at about $700 million, because the insurance market in the Philippines is not well developed, the report noted.

The report can be found here: