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Natural catastrophes caused $90 billion in insured losses in 2018, the fourth highest total on record, according to a report Monday from Aon PLC.
The 394 natural catastrophe events generated economic losses of $225 billion, according to Aon’s Weather, Climate & Catastrophe Insight: 2018 Annual Report.
Further, 2017 and 2018 now form the costliest back-to-back years on record for both insured losses across all perils at $237 billion and economic losses solely due to weather-related events at $653 billion, Aon said.
The tropical cyclone peril was the largest single driver of loss as several significant storms made landfall, including hurricanes Michael and Florence in the U.S.; typhoons Jebi and Trami in Japan; Typhoon Mangkhut in the Philippines, Hong Kong and China; and Typhoon Rumbia in China, the report said.
"2018 was another active year for global natural disasters,” including 42 billion-dollar events, Andy Marcell, CEO of Aon's Reinsurance Solutions business, said in a statement released with the report.
Major events during the year included a series of major wildfires in Northern and Southern California with the costliest the Camp Fire at $12 billion, California's deadliest and most destructive fire on record.
“Catastrophe risk continues to evolve,” Steve Bowen, director and meteorologist at Aon's Impact Forecasting team, said in the statement. He added that the combination of socioeconomics, shifts in population and exposure into vulnerable locations, plus a changing climate are contributing to more volatile weather patterns.
Other significant events included Windstorm Friederike, the fifth-costliest European windstorm of the 21st century with insured losses of $2.1 billion, the report said.
Catastrophe losses will take a toll on the insurance industry’s 2018 fourth-quarter earnings, but insurers, reinsurers and brokers should see improved investment income, and most should be profitable, according to analysts.