2017 Set a Record for Disaster Losses
Insurers are set to pay out a record $135 billion to cover losses from natural disasters in 2017, the world’s largest reinsurer told the New York Times, driven by the costliest hurricane season ever in the United States. Overall losses, including uninsured damage, came to $330 billion, according to reinsurer Munich Re. That tally was second only to 2011, when an earthquake and tsunami in Japan contributed to losses of $354 billion at today’s dollars.
The United States made up an unusually high share of global insured losses last year — about 50 percent, compared with just over 30 percent on average.
Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall in Texas in August, was the most costly natural disaster of 2017, causing losses of $85 billion. Together with Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the 2017 hurricane season caused the most damage ever, with losses reaching $215 billion.
But that wasn’t all. The devastating wildfire season in California drove insured losses to around $8 billion. And at least five severe thunderstorms across the country, accompanied by tornadoes and hail, caused insured losses of more than $1 billion each.