Natural disaster insured losses during first half of 2021 hit 10-year high: Aon

Recent floods in Europe have likely caused US$2-3 billion in reinsurance losses, analysts say.
Recent floods in Europe have likely caused US$2-3 billion in reinsurance losses, analysts say.PHOTO: NYTIMES

LONDON (REUTERS) - Insured losses from natural disasters hit a 10-year high of US$42 billion (S$57.4 billion) in the first half of 2021, with the biggest loss related to extreme cold in the United States in February, insurance broker Aon said on Wednesday (July 21).

Overall economic losses came in below their 10-year average, however, at US$93 billion, Aon said in a report.

Disasters which hit developed countries typically lead to greater insured losses. Seventy-two per cent of global insured losses occurred in the US in the first half, Aon said.

The polar vortex-induced period of extreme cold there led to an insured loss of at least US$15 billion.

Major storms in western and central Europe in June caused at least US$4.5 billion in insured losses, Aon said.

Floods in Europe since last week have likely caused US$2-3 billion in reinsurance losses, analysts say.

Natural disasters were responsible for around 3,000 deaths globally in the first half, with 800 fatalities from the heatwave which hit parts of Western Canada and the US Pacific Northwest in late June.

"The juxtaposition of observed record heat and cold around the globe highlighted the humanitarian and structural stresses from temperature extremes," said Mr Steve Bowen, managing director and head of catastrophe insight on the Impact Forecasting team at Aon.

He added that as a result of climate change, "it becomes more imperative to explore ways to better manage the physical and non-physical risks that are more urgently requiring actionable solutions".

British insurer Aviva called on Wednesday for urgent action from policymakers, developers and insurers to protect homes and businesses from the impact of climate change, saying most were ill-prepared to handle extreme weather.