Compared to the last several years, insurers should be happy with the $56 billion in total economic losses and $17 billion in insured losses occurring in the first half of 2013, according to Swiss Re’s preliminary estimates. Flooding tops the list of costly disasters so far this year, as Swiss Re says 2013 is already the second-most expensive calendar year in terms of insured flood losses.

The June floods in central and eastern Europe, Germany in particular, were the costliest catastrophe event in the first half of 2013, according to Swiss Re, inflicting $4.1 billion in insured losses and $18 billion in economic losses.

The second-costliest catastrophic event of the first half of 2013 was flooding that occurred in Canada, also in June, which cost $2.0 billion in insured losses and $4.0 billion in economic losses.

The United States suffered severe thunderstorms and tornadoes in March, April and May, but none of them could top the flooding in Germany and Canada. May was the worst month in terms of losses and came in third behind the two major floods with $1.8 billion in insured losses and $3.1 in economic losses.

Following those three months of storms, more floods in Australia were the sixth-most costly catastrophe event of the first half of 2013, inflicting $1billion in insured losses and $2 billion in economic losses.

The $56 billion in overall economic losses from the first half of the year was below the $67 billion from the same period in 2012. Total insured losses added up to $20 billion, of which $17 billion stemmed from natural catastrophes. This was lower than the $21 billion in the first half of 2012 and also below the average of the last 10 years. Man-made disasters triggered an additional $3 billion in claims in the first half of 2013, unchanged from the first half of 2012.

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