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Total economic losses from disasters significantly decrease in 2018; but insured losses are high

According to preliminary estimates, total worldwide economic losses from natural and man-made catastrophes in 2018 declined to USD 155 billion from USD 350 billion in 2017, says the Swiss Re Group. However, global insured losses are estimated to be around USD 79 billion, higher than the annual average of the previous 10 years. There have been a number of smaller and mid-sized loss-generating disaster events across all regions this year, also affecting regions with well-established insurance cover.

There has not been a singular major natural catastrophe event (such as Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria in 2017) in 2018. Nevertheless, the aggregated losses from a number of smaller and mid-sized events, alongside some major man-made disasters, have caused sizable overall insured losses. Like 2017, the losses from the 2018 series of events highlight the increasing vulnerability of the ever-growing concentration of humans and property values on coastlines and in the urban-wildlife interface. The very presence of human and property assets in areas such as these means extreme weather conditions can quickly turn into catastrophe events in terms of losses inflicted.

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