(Reuters) — Natural disasters, many driven by climate change, caused global economic losses of $313 billion in 2022, insurance broker Aon PLC estimated on Wednesday, less than half of which were insured.
Losses from natural disasters covered by the insurance sector totaled $132 billion, 57% above the 2000 average, it added, leaving a global “protection gap” of 58%.
Still, while the number of catastrophic events such as floods and hurricanes increased – at least 421 individual events compared with an average of 396 since 2000 – Aon said the protection gap was one of the lowest on record.
“It was relatively low due to the fact that many of the most expensive catastrophes occurred in countries with mature insurance markets such as the United States or Europe, while losses in less covered regions such as Asia were well below average,”; said Michal Lörinc, director of catastrophe. insight at Aon, told Reuters.
According to the report, 75% of global insured losses occurred in the United States with Hurricane Ian, which hit Florida in September 2022, causing insured losses in the range of $50 billion to $55 billion out of total economic losses of $95 billion.
Hurricane Ian is the second costliest natural disaster the insurance industry has ever faced.
Aon estimated that around 31,300 people died due to natural disasters in 2022, around two-thirds of which were linked to severe heat waves in Europe between June and July.
In Australia, insured losses linked to flooding hit a record $4 billion, as a weather pattern associated with wet weather known as La Niña extended its effects into 2022, causing heavy rain and flooding across the country.
Similarly, the monsoon season in Pakistan caused 175% above average rainfall from July to September, Aon said citing the local meteorological department.