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Natural disasters, many driven by climate change, caused global economic losses of $313 bn in 2022, of which less than half was insured. Losses from natural catastrophes covered by the insurance sector amounted to $132 bn, 57% above the 21st-century average, leaving a global ‘protection gap’ of 58%.
While the number of catastrophic events such as floods and hurricanes rose – at least 421 individual events compared to an average of 396 since 2000, the protection gap was one of the lowest on record. It was relatively low due to the fact that many of the costliest disasters occurred in countries with mature insurance markets such as the US or Europe. In contrast, losses in less-covered regions such as Asia were well below average.
Hurricane Ian, which hit Florida in September 2022, was responsible for 75% of the global insured losses that occurred in the United States. It caused insured damages in a range of $50 and $55 bn from total economic losses of $95 bn. Hurricane Ian is the second most expensive natural disaster that the insurance sector has ever faced.
About 31,300 people died due to natural catastrophe events in 2022, of which about two-thirds were linked to severe heatwaves in Europe between June and July.
In Australia, insured losses linked to floods hit a record high of $4 bn as a weather pattern associated with wet weather called La Niña extended its impact into 2022 causing severe rainfall and flooding across the country.
Similarly, in Pakistan, the monsoon season caused 175% above-average precipitation from July to September.