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Economic losses from disasters were much lower than average in the first half of 2018 says the Swiss Re Institute

According to Swiss Re Institute's preliminary estimates, global economic losses from natural catastrophes and man-made disasters in the first half of 2018 were USD 36 billion. This figure is well below the ten-year average of USD 125 billion in economic losses and significantly lower than the losses reported for the same period a year earlier. Of the total global economic losses in the first half of 2018, USD 20 billion were covered by insurance.

A series of winter storms in Europe and in the US caused the largest losses in the first half of 2018. Globally, around 3,900 people lost their lives or went missing in disaster events during the first six months of 2018, compared to approximately 4,600 for the same period in 2017.

Of the USD 36 billion in total global economic losses, natural catastrophes accounted for the majority, or USD 34 billion in the first half of 2018, compared to USD 58 billion in H1 2017. The remaining USD 2 billion of losses were caused by man-made disasters. Global insured losses from natural catastrophes fell to USD 18 billion, from USD 25 billion the year before, while insured losses from man-made disasters decreased to USD 2 billion from USD 5 billion in the first half of 2017. Nearly 56 percent of all global economic losses were insured as most disastrous events occurred in areas with high insurance penetration.

From a loss perspective, winter storm Friederike in Europe was the costliest event in the first half of 2018. The storm caused significant losses in Germany and the Netherlands, although France, Belgium and the UK were also impacted. Swiss Re Institute's sigma estimates the total economic losses at USD 2.7 billion. Approximately USD 2.1 billion of these losses were insured.

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