A plane drops red fire retardant on the Glass Fire in Deer Park, California, US September 27 2020. REUTERS/ADREES LATIF
A plane drops red fire retardant on the Glass Fire in Deer Park, California, US September 27 2020. REUTERS/ADREES LATIF

Frankfurt — Natural catastrophes around the world resulted in $210bn in damage in 2020, with the US especially hard hit by hurricanes and wildfires, a top insurer said on Thursday.

The damage, tallied by German reinsurer Munich Re, increased from $166bn in the previous year, and comes as a warming planet heightens risks.

Losses that were insured rose to $82bn from $57bn in 2019, Munich Re said. They add to the burden of the coronavirus pandemic that has hit the insurance industry hard.

“Climate change will play an increasing role in all of these hazards,” said Munich Re board member Torsten Jeworrek, pointing to hurricanes, wildfires and other storms.

“It is time to act,” he said.

The hurricane season was “hyperactive”, with a record 30 storms, surpassing the previous record of 28 storms in 2005, Munich Re said.

Heatwaves and droughts are fuelling wildfires, with $16bn in damage in 2020 in the US west.

Floods in China were the most costly individual loss at $17bn, but only 2% of the damage was insured. 

Reuters

subscribe

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments?
Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.