Natural catastrophe events cost more than USD353 billion in 2017

Published: Monday, 29 January 2018 08:40

Impact Forecasting, Aon Benfield's catastrophe model development team, has published its ‘Weather, Climate & Catastrophe Insight: 2017 Annual Report’, which evaluates the impact of the natural disaster events that occurred around the world during 2017. 

The report reveals that there were 330 natural catastrophe events in 2017 that generated economic losses of USD353 billion – of which 97 percent (USD344 billion) was due to weather-related events, including Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria in the US and Caribbean, plus Typhoon Hato in China and Cyclone Debbie in Australia. For historical context, 2017's natural catastrophe losses were 93 percent higher versus the 2000-2016 average.

Insured losses to the private sector and government-sponsored programs were among the costliest ever incurred, reaching USD134 billion in 2017 – just behind the record USD137 billion in 2011. This is 139 percent higher than last year's USD56 billion, primarily due to high insurance penetration in the US that suffered a very active Atlantic hurricane season, severe weather events (convective storms) and wildfires.

Additional key findings include:

Steve Bowen, Impact Forecasting director and meteorologist, said: "The high cost of disasters in 2017 served as a reminder that we continue to face increasing levels of risk as more people and exposures are located in areas that are particularly vulnerable to major, naturally occurring events. As weather scenarios grow more volatile in their size and potential impact, it becomes more imperative than ever to identify ways to increase awareness, improve communication, and lower the insurance protection gap. We know natural disasters are going to occur. The question is how prepared are we going to be when the next one strikes."

Other significant events during the year included:

Read the full Weather, Climate & Catastrophe Insight: 2017 Annual Report