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by : Alpha Insurance Analysts Limited

Swiss Re has today released a report that estimates the total economic losses from disaster events worldwide in 2014 at $113 billion.  This is down from the $135 billion of economic losses in 2013.  At $106 billion, damage caused by natural catastrophes was also down from last year, at $126 billion, as well as below the ten year average of $188 billion.

Insured losses for 2014 are thought to have totalled $34 billion (2013: $44 billion), of which $29 billion was from natural catastrophe events compared with $37 billion in 2013.

In the US, the year began and closed with extreme Winter weather which has already caused over $1.7 billion of insured losses, above the ten year average of $1.1 billion.  In May, the US was hit by a number of very large hail storms resulting in $2.9 billion of insured losses.  During the North Atlantic hurricane season, the US escaped relatively unscathed but Mexico suffered the worst damage since Hurricane Wilma in 2005, when Hurricane Odile made landfall in September, causing $1.6 billion of insured losses.    

In Asia, Pakistan and India suffered extensive flood damage from monsoon rains in September claiming the largest number of lives of any flood event.  The Philippines was hit by Typhoon Hagupit in December, which is estimated to cause less damage than Typhoon Haiyan.  Europe was again exposed to severe summer storms and storm Ela caused insured losses of $2.7 billion in France, Germany and Belgium.

The most expensive insured loss during 2014 has, so far, been the spate of summer storms in the US, followed by the storms in Europe a month later.