Natural disasters in 2021: record claims

Nature went wild in 2021, with a succession of catastrophic events, occurring mainly during the summer, impacting the four corners of the globe, and causing record human, economic and insurance losses.

catastrophes naturelles Heat waves, spectacular volcanic eruptions such as Mount Fagradalsfjall in Iceland or Mount Etna in Italy, devastating floods in Asia and Europe, particularly destructive fires in the United States and Canada, an active hurricane season, record drought... these are just some of the events that marked the past year.

The figures for 2021 show that natural disaster losses were significantly higher than those reported in recent years. The economic cost of these events has reached 280 billion USD in 2021, up by 33% compared to 2020, and by 30% compared to the average of the last ten years (216 billion USD).

With 120 billion USD, insured losses in 2021 had gone up by 46% compared to 2020 and by 56% compared to the average of 77 billion USD reported during the last decade.

The human losses caused by the elements of nature, that is, 9200 deaths in 2021, remained within the range of those of the two previous years.

In 2021, the two most costly events sustained by the insurance industry were hurricane Ida and winter storm Uri, both of the two events occurring in the United States and respectively triggering losses of 36 and 15 billion USD.

Specialists link the increase in the number and intensity of natural disasters to climate change.

Natural catastrophes: economic and insured losses

In millions USD
 202120202019Average of the last 10 years
Economic losses280 000210 000166 000216 000
Insured losses120 00082 00057 00077 000
Number of deaths920082009435-

Sources : Munich Re and Swiss Re for the average of the last 10 years

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