Economic losses from natural catastrophes and man-made disasters rose to an estimated $71 billion in the first half of 2016, of which insurance industry covered $31 billion, or 44 per cent of it, a survey said.
The survey by Swiss Re Sigma said that natural catastrophes made up $68 billion, against $46 billion in the first quarter of 2015, while the remaining $3 billion came from man-made disasters.
Total global insured losses from natural catastrophes rose to $28 billion, driven by large losses from different perils – from thunderstorms to wildfires across all regions. This is slightly above the annual average first-half loss of the previous 10 years.
Insured losses from man-made disasters fell to $3 billion from $5 billion in the first half of 2015.
Thunderstorms in the US and Europe were the costliest events for the insurance sector in the first half, it added.
Around 6,000 people lost their lives in natural catastrophes and man-made events in the first six months of the year, compared to 12,000 in the first half of 2015.
Three separate severe weather events in the US, including large hail, caused combined insured losses of over $7 billion.
The most intense of these was a major convective storm in Texas in April, resulting in insured losses of $3.1 billion, as large hailstones caused property damage.
In Europe, in late May and early June, two slow-moving low-pressure systems — Elvira and Friederike — caused thunderstorms, flash floods, and river flooding, with France and Germany being worst-hit.
The total insured losses from these storms and floods were $2.8 billion.
Similarly, a series of earthquakes struck the Kumamoto prefecture in Japan and Ecuador, resulting in extensive structural damage, fires and collapsed buildings.
Insured losses in Japan amounted to $5.6 billion. There were 64 fatalities. While in Ecuador, given the low insurance penetration, insured losses came to just $400 million.
The Swiss Re Group is a leading wholesale provider of reinsurance, insurance and other insurance-based forms of risk transfer.