4 January 2016

Insurer: 2015 saw lowest natural disaster losses in 6 years

Volunteers help residents clear debris from their damaged homes on Trishia Lane, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016, in Glenn Heights, Texas. At least 11 people died and dozens were injured in the tornadoes that swept through the Dallas area Saturday, Dec. 26, 2015.
Last year saw the lowest financial costs from natural disasters worldwide since 2009 as the El Nino weather phenomenon reduced hurricane activity in the North Atlantic, a leading insurer said Monday.
The year's most devastating disaster was the earthquake in Nepal in April, but only a fraction of the resulting losses was insured.

Insurer Munich Re said in an annual survey that both insured losses and overall costs resulting from disasters were the lowest since 2009. It said that there were some $27 billion in insured losses, while overall costs — including losses not covered by insurance — totaled $90 billion. Those figures were down from $31 billion and $110 billion respectively in 2014.
The costliest single event for the insurance industry was a series of winter storms that hit the northeastern U.S. and Canada in February. They generated insured losses of $2.1 billion and total losses of $2.8 billion.
In contrast, the earthquake in Nepal caused total damage valued at $4.8 billion, but only $210 million of that was insured. That underlined the fact that, in developing countries, the level of insurance coverage remains very low.
In several other years, hurricanes hitting North America in particular have caused significant costs to the insurance industry.
In this April 29, 2015 file photo Nepalese villagers salvage items from a house destroyed by Saturday's earthquake in Sakhu, on the outskirts of Kathmandu, Nepal. Last year saw the lowest financial costs from natural disasters worldwide since 2009 as the El Nino weather phenomenon reduced hurricane activity in the North Atlantic, a leading insurer said Monday, Jan. 4, 2016.

However, "in terms of financial losses, we were somewhat fortunate in 2015: strong tropical cyclones frequently only hit sparsely populated areas or did not make landfall at all," said Peter Hoeppe, the head of Munich Re's risk research unit. "In the North Atlantic, El Nino helped to curtail the development of heavy storms."
El Nino is caused by the warming of waters in the Pacific Ocean that causes changes in rainfall patterns. Hoeppe cautioned that scientists believe the phenomenon may be followed by its twin sister, La Nina, which would encourage the formation of North Atlantic hurricanes. 
(AP) 
In this Feb. 15, 2015 file photo pedestrians brace against blowing snow in Copley Square in Boston. A storm brought a new round of wind-whipped snow to New England on Sunday, threatening white-out conditions in coastal areas and forcing people to contend with a fourth winter onslaught in less than a month. Last year saw the lowest financial costs from natural disasters worldwide since 2009 as the El Nino weather phenomenon reduced hurricane activity in the North Atlantic, a leading insurer said Monday, Jan. 4, 2016.
In this Feb. 15, 2015 file photo pedestrians brace against blowing snow in Copley Square in Boston. A storm brought a new round of wind-whipped snow to New England on Sunday, threatening white-out conditions in coastal areas and forcing people to contend with a fourth winter onslaught in less than a month. Last year saw the lowest financial costs from natural disasters worldwide since 2009 as the El Nino weather phenomenon reduced hurricane activity in the North Atlantic, a leading insurer said Monday, Jan. 4, 2016. 
In this Feb. 20, 2015 file photo ice collects on the Delaware River in view of Philadelphia. The National Weather Service says the newest band of Arctic air could plunge parts of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic into deep freezes that haven't been felt since the mid-1990s. Last year saw the lowest financial costs from natural disasters worldwide since 2009 as the El Nino weather phenomenon reduced hurricane activity in the North Atlantic, a leading insurer said Monday, Jan. 4, 2016.
In this Feb. 20, 2015 file photo ice collects on the Delaware River in view of Philadelphia. The National Weather Service says the newest band of Arctic air could plunge parts of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic into deep freezes that haven't been felt since the mid-1990s. Last year saw the lowest financial costs from natural disasters worldwide since 2009 as the El Nino weather phenomenon reduced hurricane activity in the North Atlantic, a leading insurer said Monday, Jan. 4, 2016. 
In this April 27, 2015 file photo a Nepalese family collects belongings from their home destroyed in Saturday's earthquake, in Bhaktapur on the outskirts of Kathmandu, Nepal. Last year saw the lowest financial costs from natural disasters worldwide since 2009 as the El Nino weather phenomenon reduced hurricane activity in the North Atlantic, a leading insurer said Monday, Jan. 4, 2016.
In this April 27, 2015 file photo a Nepalese family collects belongings from their home destroyed in Saturday's earthquake, in Bhaktapur on the outskirts of Kathmandu, Nepal. Last year saw the lowest financial costs from natural disasters worldwide since 2009 as the El Nino weather phenomenon reduced hurricane activity in the North Atlantic, a leading insurer said Monday, Jan. 4, 2016. 

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