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World’s insurance bill this year 42% higher than 10-year average

Aarohi Sheth of Currently newsletter reported that “The world’s insurance bill from extreme weather events and climate disasters this year is $115 billion — 42 percent higher than the 10-year average of $81 billion, according to Swiss Re, a Zurich-based reinsurance giant.

The story also noted that the firm estimates that Hurricane Ian, the Category 4 Atlantic storm that was the deadliest hurricane to strike the state of Florida since 1935, was the single largest loss-causing event of the year with an estimated insured loss of $50-65 billion. Swiss Re ranks the hurricane as the second costliest natural disaster ever, in terms of insurance losses, after Hurricane Katrina struck Louisiana in 2005.

Other extreme weather events, such as the winter storms in Europe, flooding in Australia and South Africa, and hailstorms in France and the US resulted in about $50 billion insured losses as well.

“Extreme weather events have led to high insured losses in 2022, underpinning a risk on the rise and unfolding on every continent,” said Martin Bertrogg, head of catastrophe perils at Swiss Re. “Urban development, wealth accumulation in disaster-prone areas, inflation and climate change are key factors at play, turning extreme weather into ever rising natural catastrophe losses.”

Swiss Re conducted this analysis to provide reinsurance, a type of financial protection that protects insurers from high claims. Climate change has started to hurt the industry, as it’s been creating more frequent and severe storms leading to unprecedented financial losses. Updated models, however, allow the industry to more accurately predict damages.

“When Hurricane Andrew struck 30 years ago, a USD 20 billion loss event had never occurred before,” Bertrogg said. “Now there have been seven such hurricanes in just the past six years.”

Damage to citrus groves at the UF/IFAS Southwest Florida Research and Education Center at Immokalee. Photo by Monica Ozores-Hampton.