Canadian Underwriter

Swiss Re estimates 2004 cat losses at US$42 billion

December 16, 2004   by Canadian Underwriter

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In its yearend sigma study of annual catastrophe losses, Swiss Re says 2004 should produce about US$42 billion in insured losses. More significantly, more than 21,000 lives were lost to catastrophes both man-made and natural this year, the report notes.
Overall economic losses are expected to hit US$105 billion globally, based on the 300 catastrophe events prior to December 16. And insurers were hard hit, with the US$42 billion making 2004 perhaps the worst cat loss year on record, even higher than the US$37 billion in losses seen in 2001, including the 9/11 terrorist attacks. And in 2004, almost all of the losses were the result of natural catastrophes.
The U.S. and Japanese storms this fall produced the most significant losses in dollar terms. The four hurricanes making landfall in the U.S. this year produced an estimated US$27 billion in insured losses. And the three worst Japanese typhoons Songda, Tokage and Chaba – wrought US$4 billion in insured losses total.
Again this year, the worst losses in human terms were suffered in developing countries, including more than more than 6,000 Haitians killed by flooding and hurricanes.

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