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Willis Re: Pure disaster losses in 2020 “might have been worse”


Willis Re noted that the total does not reflect the high level of storm activity over the past year as several large storms narrowly lack densely populated areas. The North Atlantic hurricane season was the most active with 30 named storms, but few of them landed. Most damaging was Hurricane Laura, a Category 4 storm that landed in Louisiana in August and caused insured losses of $ 8 billion to $ 9 billion.

Instead, most of the insured losses in North America caused by natural disasters in 2020 came from small and medium-sized events.

In Europe, Storm Ciara (Sabine) caused nearly $ 42 billion in insured damage as it flew through more than ten countries. It came over a two week period, accompanied by several other storms – Ises, Dennis, and Jorge. According to Willis Re, these storm clusters can cause greater insured damage due to accumulated precipitation and wind damage, although the impact of this cluster was mainly caused by Ciara.

Asia recorded lower natural catastrophe losses, with tropical cyclone Haishen causing insured losses of less than $ 1 billion, far below the losses caused by similar storms last year.

In Asia, tropical cyclone Haishen caused insured losses of less than $ 1 billion, also well below that caused by similar storms in the 2019 cyclone season. The biggest event of 2020 in Latin America and the Caribbean was Hurricane Iota in November, with an estimated economic loss of about $ 1.3 billion but a much lower insured loss.

“Natural catastrophe losses were high in 2020, but things could have been worse given the number of storms that have formed around the world,” said Yinzen Chuang, regional director of disaster analysis at Willis Re International. “Fortunately, despite an active Atlantic hurricane season, landfalls were limited. While the losses in Europe were small, we saw a number of earthquake events as a reminder of the seismically active nature of southern Europe, as well as severe flooding from storms and hailstorms. Nonetheless, in a year when COVID-19 dominated discussions about disaster loss, there were a number of smaller but impactful natural disaster events. “

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