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Natural disaster report

Hardy GraupnerJanuary 7, 2015

The world's largest reinsurer has measured the impact of natural catastrophes in 2014. Munich Re said losses were much lower than in previous years, but warned that the tide could turn in 2015.

Cyclone Hudhud in India
Image: Getty Images/AFP/STR

Munich Re #link:https://www.munichre.com/en/media-relations/publications/press-releases/2015/2015-01-07-press-release/index.html:said in a report Wednesday# that 7,700 people lost their lives in natural disasters last year, down from 21,000 in 2013. It added that material losses were kept at bay due to a quiet hurricane season and the absence of very severe catastrophes.

"In many places, early warning systems functioned better, and the authorities consistently brought people to safety in the face of approaching weather catastrophes," Munich Re board member Torsten Jeworrek said in a statement.

"However, that should not give us a false sense of security, because the risk situation overall has not changed, and there's no reason to expect a similarly moderate course in 2015."

Hudhud aftermath

Munich Re said overall losses from natural disasters totaled $110 billion (92.5 billion euros), compared with $140 billion a year earlier, of which roughly $31 billion was insured.

At $7 billion, the most expensive event in terms of overall loss was Cyclone Hudhud in India. The costliest natural catastrophe for the global insurance industry was a winter storm with heavy snowfalls in Japan, the German reinsurer noted in its report.

Europe saw a very costly hailstorm in 2014, just as in the previous year, the trigger being a low pressure system, which swept across France, Belgium and the western part of Germany.