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Global disasters cost $140bn

Dec 19 2012 13:37 AFP

Snow from a northeaster storm coats homes burned in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy in New York City. (Mario Tama, Getty Images/AFP)

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Zurich - Natural and man-made disasters around the world this year, including Superstorm Sandy, will cost at least $140bn (€106bn), according to a study published by Swiss insurance group Swiss Re on Wednesday.

The insurance industry will cover about $65bn of all losses from such catastrophes, the study showed, ticking in above the average for the past 10 years.

It nevertheless marked a significant drop from 2011, when massive earthquakes and flooding forced insurers to dish out more than $120bn to cover disaster-related losses.

Natural catastrophes alone this year will lead to more than 11 000 deaths and $60bn in insured claims, Swiss Re said in a statement.

But after two years when natural disasters such as the devastating Haiti earthquake and Pakistan floods were largely concentrated in Asia Pacific and South America, "2012 is dominated by large, weather-related losses in the US", it added.

The "top-five insured loss events" had all happened in the US, it pointed out. They included Hurricane Sandy which wreaked havoc across the east coast of the country, as well as in the Caribbean and the Bahamas at the end of October.

"Estimates for the insured cost of the devastation are between $20 and $25bn," it said, though "it is still too soon to gauge the final overall damage".

In addition, extremely dry weather conditions in the US had led to "one of the worst droughts in recent decades, affecting more than half of the country", the study showed. Drought-related agricultural losses there were expected to swell to $11bn, it added.

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united states  |  natural disasters


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