Disaster-linked losses in 2018 hit $155 billion: Swiss Re

Losses from natural and man-made disasters are estimated to total $155 billion (€136 billion) this year, down sharply from a hurricane-plagued 2017, the reinsurance giant Swiss Re said on Tuesday.

Disaster-linked losses in 2018 hit $155 billion: Swiss Re
Firefighters battle the Camp Fire on November 9th in Paradise, California. Photo: AFP

The trio of hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Irma last year pushed losses to $350 billion, but Swiss Re noted that a “number of smaller and mid-sized events, alongside some major man-made disasters” in 2018 were still cause for serious concern. 

Events this year “highlight the increasing vulnerability of the ever-growing concentration of humans and property values on coastlines and in the urban-wildlife interface.”

Overall, the figures served as a reminder that “extreme weather conditions can quickly turn into catastrophe,” the company said. 

Among the major events causing damage this year were hurricanes Michael and Florence, a series of typhoons in Asia and the recent California wildfires. 

Roughly half of all losses recorded this year were covered by insurance, Swiss Re said.