Catastrophe losses close to record high

The economic losses from natural catastrophes in the first half of 2020 reached $US68bn ($A95bn), a newly released Munich Re report shows. The losses were slightly lower than the 30-year average of $ US74bn after adjustment for inflation.

The losses were dominated by severe thunderstorms and tornadoes; flash floods and hail in North America. The big share of North American weather disaster losses produced global insured losses of about $ US27bn, which were higher than usual ($US 20bn).

North America accounted for 47% of total losses and 82% of insured losses, significantly more than respective long-term averages at 35% and 60% respectively.

The report said Australia’s bushfires in the 2019-20 summer season produced record loss amounts – economic losses came to about $US2bn, of which $US1.6bn was insured because of “the high proportion of fire insurance cover for buildings”. Several studies suggested climate change was making Australia’s bushfires more likely in the long term.

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