Global insured losses from natural disasters have reached $50bn so far this year, with severe US storms accounting for almost 70 per cent of the costs, according to new data.
The main driver in the spike in insured losses was severe thunderstorms in the US, which accounted for 68 per cent, about $34bn, of all global insured natural catastrophe losses in the first half of year, according to data from insurer Swiss Re.
This marked the second highest half-year global insured losses from natural disasters since 2011.
The overall economic losses from natural catastrophes amounted to $120bn – slightly down on the same period last year, but still 46 per cent above the ten-year average.
Other natural disasters contributing to the insured losses included the February earthquake in Turkey and Syria, which was the single costliest disaster so far this year both in terms of economic and insured losses, totalling $34bn and $5.3bn respectively, the insurer said.
Elsewhere, heavy rainfalls in northern Italy in mid-May led to flooding, with insured losses expected to pass $600m and economic losses nearing $10bn – the costliest weather-related event in the country since 1970, Swiss Re said.
“The effects of climate change can already be seen in certain perils like heatwaves, droughts, floods and extreme precipitation. Besides the impact of climate change, land use planning in more exposed coastal and riverine areas, and urban sprawl into the wilderness, generate a hard-to-revert combination of high value exposure in higher risk environments,” he said.
“Protective measures need to be taken for insurance products to remain economical for such properties at high risk. It is high time to invest in more climate adaption,” he said.