Natural catastrophes caused above-average insurance losses in 2020: Insurance broker Aon

Hurricane Laura caused a US$10 billion insured loss, the largest global insured loss event of 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (REUTERS) - Natural catastrophes resulted in US$97 billion (S$128.6 billion) in insured losses in 2020, 40 per cent above the average for this century, in a year when insurers also faced hefty bills due to the coronavirus pandemic, insurance broker Aon said in a report on Monday (Jan 25).

Hurricane Laura, which hit the United States and Caribbean in August, caused a US$10 billion insured loss, the largest global insured loss event of 2020, Aon said. Economic losses from natural disasters - insured and uninsured combined - totalled US$268 billion, with seasonal floods in China between June and September causing the greatest loss event at US$35 billion.

Seasonal floods during the same period in India caused the greatest number of deaths, at 1,922, Aon said.

Social distancing requirements due to the pandemic made processing claims harder, Aon said, with insurers using drones or customers' own pictures rather than sending loss assessors to the scene of the disasters.

"Focus at the corporate and federal levels will be critical around investments in risk mitigation, resilience, and sustainability as the landscape around climate change solutions continues to accelerate with renewed urgency," said Steve Bowen, Director and Meteorologist for Aon's Impact Forecasting team.

Reinsurer Swiss Re last month pegged insured losses from natural catastrophes at US$76 billion, while Munich Re estimated them at US$82 billion.

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