Natural and man-made disasters caused $306 billion of economic losses worldwide this year according to estimates from insurance giant Swiss Re
. That's a 63 percent increase on 2016 and much higher than average over the past decade. Insured losses amounted to $136 billion, more than double the amount in 2016 and the third-highest ever recorded. Despite the soaring cost of disasters
, fatalities remained relatively unchanged with 11,000 people losing their lives of going missing. That is similar to previous years.
One of the main reasons for the accumulation of losses was a bout of extreme weather that struck the Americas. Three hurricanes - Harvey, Irma and Maria - struck the U.S. and Caribbean, causing an estimated $93 billion of insured losses
. Meanwhile, wildfires continue to cause devastation in California. Elsewhere, two powerful earthquakes struck Tehuantepec and Puebla in Mexico in mid-September, causing a high number of deaths and over $2 billion in insured losses.Tropical Cyclone Debbie also caused considerable damage in Australia with insured losses amounting to $1.3 billion.
Losses peaked in 2011 at $440 billion, the year Japan was struck by the Tōhoku earthquake and tsumani which led to the Fukushima disaster. 2008 was also particularly grim with Cyclone Nargis killing more than 135,000 people in Myanmar, swiftly followed by an earthquake in China's Sichuan province that left 70,000 dead. Economic losses for that year came to $297 billion.