Global insured losses from natural catastrophes in the first half of 2021 have reached their highest since 2011 at $42bn, and are double the average set since 1980, according to preliminary figures from Aon’s Impact Forecasting.
The US polar vortex in February was the costliest event of H1 – and the most expensive winter weather-related event on record – with an insured loss of at least $15bn. European storms in June cost insurers $4.5bn, which could make it the costliest storm for the region on record.
Publishing its first-half 2021 nat cat review, Aon said insured losses in Europe and the EMEA region were running at 32% above first-half averages, while in the US losses were 76% higher. Some 72% of global insured losses for the first half of 2021 fell to the US.
Natural disasters caused global economic loss of $93bn in H1, down 32% on the previous decade but 9% higher than the average since 1980.
The number of nat cat events was down at 163 for first-half 2021, and below the median of 197. But 22 of these events exceeded $1bn in economic losses and ten events booked more than $1bn in insured losses.
Some 3,000 fatalities from natural disasters were recorded in the first half of 2021. Temperature extremes were the deadliest type of disaster and 800 deaths were linked to the June heatwave in the US Pacific northwest and western Canada.
Steve Bowen, managing director and head of Impact Forecasting’s Catastrophe Insight, said: “The juxtaposition of observed record heat and cold around the globe highlighted the humanitarian and structural stresses from temperature extremes. As climate change continues to amplify the severity of weather events, it becomes more imperative to explore ways to better manage the physical and non-physical risks that are more urgently requiring actionable solutions.”
The figures are preliminary, Impact Forecasting said, and are likely to shift during the next few months, especially with claims yet to settle around the US polar vortex event.