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Cat losses drop to $53 billion in 2019: Report


Insured losses from natural catastrophes totaled about $53 billion in 2019, roughly 18% below average annual losses since 2011, according to a report Thursday from Willis Towers Watson PLC.

By territory, about 46.1% of the total insured losses were in the United States, 37.5% in Asia Pacific and 9.5% in Latin America, data from the report showed.

Severe weather accounted for the largest portion of insured losses at 40.1%, followed by tropical cyclones at 32.3%.

The loss total was composed of a collection of relatively small events rather than a few large events, such as hurricanes and earthquakes, Willis said.

For example, the largest single insured loss in the United States in 2019 resulted from a severe thunderstorm affecting the high and central plains and eastern parts of the country in May that caused approximately $3 billion to 4 billion in insured losses.

In Europe, Winter Storm Dragi-Eberhard caused about $850 million of insured losses in Belgium, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands and Luxembourg in March and hailstorms hit Germany, Poland, Slovenia and the Czech Republic causing $830 million in insured losses in June, the report said.

The year’s largest events were in Japan, where Tropical Cyclone Faxai caused about $7 billion in insured losses in September and Tropical Cyclone Hagibis caused about $8 billion in losses in October, the report said.

The $53 billion in 2019 insured losses were down dramatically from the past two years when the industry saw $143 billion in insured losses in 2017 and $80.5 billion in 2018, data from the report showed.

The lowest total of insured losses since 2011 was 2015 with just $23 billion in insured losses, which followed 2014’s second-lowest tally of just $33 billion, according to the report.