21,000 lives lost in 2004 disasters

NATURAL and manmade disasters this year claimed more than 21,000 lives worldwide and economic losses of €81 billion, Swiss Reinsurance said today.

Property insurance companies face record claims of €32bn, with the largest losses resulting from hurricanes in Florida and typhoons in Japan, according to a preliminary study by the Zurich-based Swiss Re, the world’s second-largest reinsurer.

Europe had fewer natural catastrophes than in previous years, Swiss Re said, but cited the 191 people killed and more than 2,000 injured in March following a terrorist attack on Madrid train stations.

Some 9% of the insurance claims were for natural catastrophes, with the rest attributed to manmade disasters, it said.

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