Report examines weather disaster costs

A recently released report revealed the financial impact of worldwide weather disasters in 2017 carried a record price tag of $344 billion.

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The Weather, Climate & Catastrophe Insight: 2017 Annual Report, generated by Impact Forecasting, Aon Benfield’s catastrophe model development team, evaluated the impact of worldwide natural disaster events to promote awareness and enhance resilience.

“While 2017 was an expensive year for the insurance industry, the reinsurance market had an estimated $600 billion in available capital to withstand the high volume of payouts,” Aon Benfield CEO Eric Andersen said. “Most critically, the American weather and wildfire events, in particular, have demonstrated the value of reinsurance, with claims being paid in an average of eight days to augment the recovery process.”

The report referenced there were 330 natural catastrophe events in 2017 that generated economic losses of $353 billion. Of that total, $344 billion was due to weather-related events, including Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria in the United States and Caribbean, plus Typhoon Hato in China and Cyclone Debbie in Australia.

Officials said additional report findings indicated 36 percent ($80 billion) of economic damage from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria was insured 31 billion-dollar events occurred globally, with 16 alone in America. Additionally, wildfires caused $14 billion of insurance losses in 2017 – the highest on record and 10,000 human fatalities were caused by natural disasters, with the deadliest event being a massive landslide event in Sierra Leone when more than 1,100 people lost their lives.