Last Updated: Tuesday, January 5, 2016

2015 natural disaster insurance cost falls lowest in six years


The natural disaster insurance cost in 2015 has fallen to its lowest in six years, Germany-based reinsurer Munich Re published its annual Natural Disaster Review on Monday.

The lowest insurance costs worldwide since 2009 was because of the reduced hurricane activity in the North Atlantic of El Nino weather phenomenon. Weather caused 94% of catastrophes including storms, floods and earthquakes last year, according to data from reinsurer Munich Re.

2015-natural-disasters-nepal
Earthquake damage in Kathmandu, Nepal (Disaster Report)
 The $27bn in insured damage last year was lower than the $31bn registered in 2014 and also below the 10-year average of $56bn, Munich Re said.

Overall damage, including that not covered by insurance, was $90bn last year, the lowest level since 2009.

The deadliest catastrophe, and also the costliest in terms of overall losses, was the Nepal earthquake in April, where more than 9,000 people lost their lives and overall losses totalled US$ 4.8bn.

The costliest single event for the insurance industry was a series of winter storms that hit the northeastern United States and Canada in February. They generated insured losses of $2.1 billion and total losses of $2.8 billion.

Natural Disasters 2015: The Year at a Glance


  • 2015 saw the lowest losses of any year since 2009. Overall losses totalled US$ 90bn (previous year US$ 110bn), of which roughly US$ 27bn (US$ 31bn) was insured.
  • The loss amounts were also below the long-term inflation-adjusted average for the period 1985–2014 (overall losses US$ 130bn, insured losses US$ 34bn).
  • The natural catastrophes of the past year claimed 23,000 lives, substantially more than the previous year's figure of 7,700. However, the number of victims was still some way below the annual average for the last 30 years (54,000).
  • For the first time, more than a thousand loss events were recorded in a single year. However, this is primarily due to improved communication of such events. In particularly benign years, a lot of minor events are recorded.
Source: Review of natural catastrophes in 2015: El Niño curbs losses from natural catastrophes in 2015, Munich Re, Retrieved from: http://www.munichre.com/en/media-relations/publications/press-releases/2016/2016-01-04-press-release/index.html