While global economic losses were close to average in 2012, insured losses were 36 percent higher than the 10-year average ($72 billion versus $53 billion) because the two most costly events of the year occurred in the United States, which has higher than average insurance penetration.
The two major U.S. natural peril events, Hurricane Sandy and a year-long drought, accounted for two-thirds of all 2012 insurance losses globally and nearly half of all economic losses, according to Aon’s annual “Global Climate and Catastrophe Report.”
The report shows that 295 natural peril events occurred worldwide in 2012, compared to 257 in 2011, causing total economic losses of $200 billion. The 10-year average is $187 billion.
Overall insured losses in 2012 were significantly lower than the record 2011 insured loss of $133 billion.
Hurricane Sandy caused an estimated $28.2 billion in insured losses across private insurers and government-sponsored programs, and approximately $65 billion in economic losses across the United State, Caribbean, Bahamas and Canada.
The most deadly event of 2012 was Super Typhoon Bopha, which killed more than 1,900 people after making landfall in the Philippines.
A total of 14 tropical cyclones made landfall globally in 2012, compared to a long-term average of 16. Major flooding affected China and the United Kingdom, with other floods recorded elsewhere in Asia, Europe and Oceania.
In 2012, Europe, Asia and North America (outside the United States) all sustained aggregate insured losses above $1 billion due to flooding, earthquakes and tropical cyclones. Losses in Asia and Oceania were well below their recent 10-year averages, and Europe was slightly below its average.
U.S. severe weather losses were close to the recent five-year average and 46 percent less than 2011’s record losses.
Records show that 2012 ended as the eighth warmest year in world history since global land and ocean temperature records began in 1880.