Storms, forest fires, heatwaves, plane crashes, earthquakes and terrorist attacks have all plagued the world this year, with the damage costing as much as $65bn (£37bn) - but the losses for insurance companies will be manageable.
According to research published yesterday by the reinsurer Swiss Re, insurers are facing claims of only $17bn because that is the full amount that has been covered. This figure is higher than last year, but is not a record.
In 1992, insurers faced losses of $36bn in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew, and losses of $35bn were recorded in 2001, including the attacks on the World Trade Centre.
"This will not go down as a record year for claims, although it is an expensive one," Aurelia Zanetti at Swiss Re said yesterday.
Almost 20,000 people were killed worldwide by natural and man-made catastrophes. Natural disasters caused a loss of $15bn for insurers, and man-made disasters such as industrial fires, explosions and plane crashes a further $2bn.
There were only five losses that cost insurers in excess of $1bn, all in the US. Hurricane Isabel battered the East Coast in September, 400 tornadoes brought devastation to the Mid-West in May, and California was ravaged by forest fires.
Terrorist attacks claimed the lives of 475 people this year but the cost to insurers has not yet been calculated.Reuse content