21,000 killed in 'disasters' this year

Natural and manmade disasters this year claimed more than 21,000 lives worldwide and economic losses of €78.8bn, Swiss Reinsurance said today.

Natural and manmade disasters this year claimed more than 21,000 lives worldwide and economic losses of €78.8bn, Swiss Reinsurance said today.

Property insurance companies face record claims of €30.6bn, 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.

Swiss Re said the total claims this year topped the previous high, registered in 1992.

“2004 reinforces the trend towards higher losses, which can be attributed in part to rising population densities and value concentrations as well as to the growing urbanisation of exposed areas,” Swiss Re said.

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