Swiss Re estimates 1H2020 global insured catastrophe losses at USD 31 billion

12 August 2020 — press.release
Global economic losses from natural catastrophes and man-made disasters in the first half of 2020 were USD 75 billion, according to Swiss Re Institute's preliminary sigma estimates. That was up from the USD 57 billion for the same period a year earlier, but well below the average of first-half economic losses of the previous 10 years (USD 112 billion).

Of the economic losses, around 40% (USD 31 billion) were covered by insurance. In the previous 10 years, first-half insured claims averaged USD 36 billion annually. These sigma catastrophe loss estimates are for property damage, and exclude COVID-19 related claims. More than 2,000 people lost their lives or went missing in disaster events during the first half of this year. The main driver of the first half losses were secondary perils, with thunderstorms in North America playing a significant role.

Of the USD 75 billion in total global economic losses in the first half of 2020, natural catastrophes accounted for USD 72 billion, up from USD 52 billion in the year-earlier period. The remaining USD 3 billion of losses were caused by man-made disasters, down from USD 5 billion for the first half of 2019.

This year's decline was in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with lockdowns across the world bringing economic activity in many countries to a near halt. Global insured losses from natural catastrophes rose to USD 28 billion in the first half of 2020 from USD 19 billion the year before, while insured losses from man-made disasters decreased to USD 3 billion from USD 4 billion.


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