Global disaster costs fall in 2015

Smoke billows behind rows of burnt out cars at the site of a series of explosions in Tianjin, northern China on August 13, 2015. (AFP File, Greg Baker)
Smoke billows behind rows of burnt out cars at the site of a series of explosions in Tianjin, northern China on August 13, 2015. (AFP File, Greg Baker)

Zurich - The economic cost of disasters across the world dropped in 2015 to around $85bn from $113bn last year, reinsurance company Swiss Re said this week.

Insurance companies covered $32bn of the total, it said in its Sigma study.

The 2015 figure is much below the annual average over the past decade of $192bn, Swiss Re said.

The cost of natural disasters alone accounted for $74bn of this year's total, it said.

The industrial disaster in Tianjin in northeastern China, where massive explosions at a hazardous goods storage firm on August 12 killed 161 people, is estimated to have been the year's costliest catastrophe, with insurers covering more than $2bn of the damage, but calculations are ongoing.

Among natural catastrophes, the February winter storms in the United States produced the biggest bill for insurers, costing them around $2.7bn.

The Nepal earthquake, which killed 9 000 people and destroyed 500 000 homes had an economic cost of more than $6bn, but insurers had to pay out just $160m, Swiss Re said.

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