Major natural catastrophes during 2017 contributed to a record year on terms of insured losses. Munich Re has made the assessment in latest loss report. The reinsurance firm says insurance companies will pay a combined US$135 billion in insured losses to cover event from a record breaking 2017.
Last year saw massive hurricanes (Maria, Irma and Harvey) devastate pasts of the United States, Mexico, and the Caribbean. The record-breaking storms resulted in two category 5 hurricanes making US landfall in the same year for the first time. Elsewhere, Cyclone Debbie caused major damage in Australia and New Zealand, while massive wildfires destroyed parts of California. In Canada, British Columbia experienced record wildfires, although the country generally stayed unscathed in 2017.
Munich Re’s annual catastrophe review says the total losses including non-insured reached $US330 billion, the second worst in history. Only 2011 was worse, when the tsunami and earthquake event took place in Japan.
Worse is probably still to come with more frequent and severe weather events occurring, although Munich Re did not directly attribute these to climate change.
“We have a new normal,” said Ernst Rauch, head of Munich Re’s Corporate Climate Centre, as quoted by Reuters.
“2017 was not an outlier,” he added. “We must have on our radar the trend of new magnitudes.”