Munich Re, the world’s second-largest reinsurance group, joined calls on the world’s politicians and governments to take measures to combat climate change as it reported that the cost of natural disasters had doubled this year to just under $30 billion (£15 billion).
There were 950 natural catastrophes this year, the highest since Munich Re began to keep records in 1974. Despite a total economic loss of $75 billion, the disasters still caused far less damage than 2006, when the combined effects of severe hurricanes, such as Rita and Katrina, caused losses estimated at a record $220 billion, with almost $100 billion of that paid out by insurers.
In Europe, Storm Kyrill caused the greatest chaos, bringing windspeeds of up to 200 km/hour in January, reaching from the mid-Atlantic as far east as Poland and Austria. Kyrill caused about $10 billion of economic damage, according to Munich Re.
Kyrill caused widespread damage across Western Europe, especially in the United Kingdom and Germany. 47 fatalities have been reported as of January 19 as well as extensive disruptions of public transport, power outages to over one hundred thousand homes, severe damages to public and private buildings and major forest damage through windthrow.
Dr Jeworrek, a member of the board at Munich Re gave warning that weather-related losses would rise, pushing up premium costs and acting as a drain on government spending on infrastructure.