Global Catastrophe Losses Remain Below Average in 2015 Despite Uptick in Disaster Events
Global natural disasters in 2015 combined to cause economic losses of USD123 billion, an amount 30 percent below the 15-year average of USD175 billion. However, the losses were just eight percent lower on a median basis (USD134 billion). The economic losses were attributed to 3001 separate events, compared to an average of 269. The disasters caused insured losses of USD35 billion, or 31 percent below the 15-year mean of USD51 billion and 14 percent lower than the median (USD40 billion). It comprised the lowest total since 2009. This was the fourth consecutive year with declining catastrophe losses since the record-setting year in 2011. Notable events during the year included winter storms in the United States; extensive flooding in parts of India, the US, UK, and China; a major earthquake in Nepal; record-setting tropical cyclones in the Pacific Ocean; European windstorms; and massive forest fires in Indonesia. The top three perils, flooding, severe thunderstorm, and wildfire, combined for 59 percent of all economic losses in 2015. Despite 32 percent of catastrophe losses occurring inside of the United States, it still accounted for 60 percent of global insured losses. This speaks to a higher rate of insurance penetration in the country.