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A roundup of 2014’s natural disasters

Impact Forecasting has published its Annual Global Climate and Catastrophe Report, which evaluates the impact of the natural disaster events that occurred worldwide during 2014. Aon Benfield is the global reinsurance intermediary and capital advisor of Aon plc.

The report states that 258 separate global natural disasters occurred in 2014, compared to a ten-year average of 260 events, causing a combined total insured loss of USD39 billion: 38 percent below the ten-year average of USD63 billion, and the lowest annual insured loss total since 2009.

The two costliest insured loss events of the year were both a result of severe thunderstorms, in June (Europe: USD 3.0 billion) and in May (United States: USD 2.9 billion).

Meanwhile, global economic losses from natural catastrophes in 2014 stood at USD 132 billion: 37 percent below the ten-year average of USD 211 billion. The September flood event in northern India and Pakistan resulted in the largest economic loss of the year, causing an estimated USD 18 billion in damage and representing the fifth consecutive year that Pakistan has registered a billion-dollar flood event.

The top three threats – flood, tropical cyclone, and severe weather – accounted for a 72 percent of all economic losses during the 12 months under review, while the deadliest event of 2014 was a multi-month stretch of flash flooding and landslides that killed an estimated 2,600 people in Afghanistan.

Despite 75 percent of 2014 natural disaster losses occurring outside of the United States, the territory accounted for 53 percent of global insured losses, driven by its relatively high insurance penetration. The top ten insured loss events of 2014 comprised five severe weather outbreaks (four in the US), two winter weather events (Japan and the US), Hurricane Odile (Mexico), flooding (United Kingdom), and drought (US).

No global territories sustained aggregate insured losses above their ten-year averages during the year. The Americas (non-US) and Asia Pacific (APAC) were closest to their insured averages; while the United States, and Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) were well below normal.

A total of 13 tropical cyclones (Category 1+) made landfall globally in 2014 – slightly below the 1980-2013 average of 16. Ten of the landfalls occurred in the Northern Hemisphere, including six in Asia. As at December 31, 2014, the US had not witnessed a major hurricane landfall for a record nine consecutive years.
Meanwhile, 2014 was the warmest year since global land and ocean temperature records began in 1880.

To view the full Impact Forecasting 2014 Annual Global Climate and Catastrophe Report, please click here.

•Date: 14th January 2015 • US •Type: Article • Topic: DR general

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