Costs of Disasters: Swiss Re estimates an annual Loss of 130 Billion USD

Swiss Re estimates losses from disasters to amount to 130 billion USD in 2013.
Swiss Re estimates losses from disasters to amount to 130 billion USD in 2013.
Credits: UN Photo/Evan Schneider

The reinsurance company Swiss Re estimates the loss created by disasters worldwide in 2013 to amount to 130 billion USD. Their preliminary sigma estimates that insured global losses from catastrophes triggered by natural hazards and man-made disasters totalled USD 44 billion, with flooding a major driver. Around 25,000 lives were lost as a result of disasters in 2013, natural as well as man-made.

While the total economic loss from disasters decreased from 130 billion USD as compared to 196 billion USD in 2012, the total loss of lives increased to 25,000 as compared to 14,000 last year. As some of the biggest disasters in terms of impact, the estimate considers Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, the floods in Central Europe in the summer, as well as heavy rains and floods in Australia, India, China, Indonesia, Southern Africa and Argentina.

Kurt Karl, Chief Economist at Swiss Re, commented "Together with preventative measures, insurance can lessen the destructive impact and financial burden that large catastrophic events can have on people's lives. It can also help accelerate reconstruction efforts, as we have seen in areas where insurance penetration is higher."