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Insured catastrophe losses totaled $42 billion in the first half of 2021, including $40 billion of natural catastrophe losses, the second highest first-half total on record, according to a report Thursday from Swiss Re Institute, part of Swiss Re Co. Ltd.
Winter storms, intense heatwaves and severe flooding worldwide highlighted the growing risks from so-called “secondary perils.”
The $42 billion in first-half insured catastrophe losses is also well above the 10-year average of $33 billion.
Winter storm Uri in February caused an estimated $15 billion insured losses in the U.S., the most ever recorded for this peril.
Winter storm Uri reached the loss magnitude that peak perils like hurricanes can wreak, Martin Bertogg, head of cat perils at Swiss Re, said in the report. “The insurance industry needs to upscale its risk assessment capabilities for these lesser monitored perils to maintain and expand its contribution to financial resilience,” he said.
Extreme heat shattered temperature records across western Canada and the northwestern U.S. in June, with heat that reached more than 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) and, together with severe drought conditions, led to wildfires.
In July, severe flooding caused around $5.3 billion to $6.5 billion insured losses in Germany, according to the German Insurance Association.
In China, severe flooding in Henan province caused an estimated $1.7 billion in insurance claims, according to the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission.
Global insured losses this year due to natural catastrophes and man-made disasters totaled $83 billion, the fifth-costliest year for the industry since 1970, according to preliminary estimates from Swiss Re Ltd.’s Swiss Re Institute.