In 2009, natural catastrophes will have cost insurers roughly $21 billion, and man-made disasters will trigger additional claims of approximately $3 billion, according to Swiss Re’s sigma study, “Natural and man-made catastrophes in 2009.” Total insured losses had soared to more than $50 billion worldwide in 2008. Swiss Re attributes the lower figure for 2009 to the calm U.S. hurricane season.
“In 2009, we [thankfully] saw no such event like Hurricane Katrina, which caused $71 billion in losses back in 2005,” says Thomas Hess, chief economist of Swiss Re. “We were lucky, but that may not be the case next year. Though losses from natural catastrophes and man-made disasters have continuously trended upwards in the past twenty years, we still see high volatility from year to year.”
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