Insured Catastrophe Losses - Statistics & Facts

Insured Catastrophe Losses - Statistics & Facts

Statistics and facts on the catastrophe losses of the insurance industry

Insurance is a form of risk management. It is a promise of compensation from the insurer to the policy holder for specific future losses in exchange for a regular payment. It is designed to protect the individual, business or organization from an unexpected loss and secure their financial well-being.


There are many companies worldwide operating in the insurance sector. The largest insurers in terms of revenue in 2013 were Berkshire Hathaway (182.15 billion U.S. dollars), AXA (165.89 billion U.S. dollars) and Japan Post Holdings (152.13 billion U.S. dollars).

Some of the most extreme cases of financial loss to individuals, businesses and whole regions result from natural catastrophes. A big part of these costs is incurred by the insurance companies. In 2013, the insured losses worldwide reached approximately 44.92 billion U.S. dollars. Weather related losses cost the insurance industry 37 billion U.S. dollars, man-made disasters cost 7.87 billion U.S. dollars and earthquakes and tsunamis cost 0.05 billion U.S. dollars.

The earthquake most expensive to the insurance industry since 1980, took place in Japan in March 2011. The total losses were estimated to 210 billion U.S dollars while only 40 billion U.S. dollars were insured. The most costly typhoon to the insurance industry occurred in Japan in 1991. Typhoon Mireille incurred 10 billion U.S. dollars of total losses, out of which 6 billion U.S. dollars were insured. The most costly insurance loss worldwide resulting from a natural disaster from 1970 to 2013 amounted to 80.37 billion U.S. dollars and was caused by hurricane Katrina, which hit the United States in 2005.

Man-made insured losses are those caused by fires and explosions, mining accidents, aviation, maritime or rail disasters. In 2013, major fires and explosions worldwide cost the insurance industry approximately 5.15 billion U.S. dollars and were the most significant insured loss among the mentioned categories.

The most costly terrorist attack took place in United States in 2011. The insured property loss resulting from the crash of hijacked airplanes into World Trade Center and Pentagon amounted to 24.72 billion U.S. dollars.
Photo: istockphoto.com / tforgo

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