2016 was an exceptional year for flood related disasters
- Published: Tuesday, 10 January 2017 16:10
2016 was the costliest twelve months for natural catastrophe losses in the last four years, according to Munich Re. Global losses totalled US$ 175bn, a good two-thirds more than in the previous year, and very nearly as high as the figure for 2012 (US$ 180bn). The share of uninsured losses – the so-called protection or insurance gap – remained substantial at around 70 percent. Almost 30 percent of the losses, some US$ 50bn, were insured.
“After three years of relatively low nat cat [natural catastrophe] losses, the figures for 2016 are back in the mid-range, where they are expected to be. Losses in a single year are obviously random and cannot be seen as a trend”, said member of the Board of Management Torsten Jeworrek. “The high percentage of uninsured losses, especially in emerging markets and developing countries, remains a concern. Greater insurance density is important, as it helps to alleviate the financial consequences of a catastrophe for more people. With its risk knowledge, the insurance industry would in fact be able to bear a much greater portion of such unpredictable risks.”
Key natural catastrophe figures of 2016:
- Both overall losses and insured losses were above the inflation-adjusted average for the past ten years (US$ 154bn and 45.1bn respectively).
- Taking very small events out of the equation, 750 relevant loss events such as earthquakes, storms, floods, droughts and heatwaves were recorded in the Munich Re NatCatSERVICE database. That is significantly above the ten-year average of 590.
- Some 8,700 lives were sadly lost as a result of these natural catastrophes, far fewer at least than in 2015 (25,400), yet within the ten-year average (60,600). The past year was thus the year with the fewest fatalities (after 2014, with 8,050 fatalities) in 30 years (1986: 8,600).
- The high number of flood events, including river flooding and flash floods, was exceptional and accounted for 34 percent of overall losses, compared with an average of 21 percent over the past ten years.