Natural catastrophes during the first half of the year caused estimated damage of $92 billion

Aon has launched its Global Catastrophe Recap: First Half of 2022 report, which evaluates the impact of natural disaster events that occurred worldwide in the first six months of the year.

Published by Impact Forecasting, the report reveals that global natural disaster events during 1H 2022 caused total economic losses estimated at $92 billion – 24 percent lower than the 21st century average of $121 billion.

Meanwhile, global insured losses were estimated at $39 billion – 18 percent higher than the 21st century average of $33 billion, with Severe Convective Storm (SCS) events in the US and Europe alone accounting for 54 percent of the total.

Notably, insured losses in EMEA were 86 percent above the average, which was driven by a very costly windstorm season and relentless thunderstorm activity in May and June.

First-half Severe Convective Storm (SCS) losses in Europe exceeded $5 billion for the second year in a row, which is without precedent in the historical record.

Meanwhile, 21 individual billion-dollar economic loss events were registered during the period – led by the US (nine) and EMEA (seven), followed by APAC (three), and the Americas (two) – and at least nine additional billion-dollar insured events.

All of these events were weather-related apart from the Fukushima Earthquake in Japan, which resulted in a $8.5 billion economic loss, of which $2.7 billion was insured.

Climate change influence

Steve Bowen, managing director and head of Catastrophe Insight for Aon’s Impact Forecasting team, said: “The continued effects of La Niña conditions, amplified by climate change’s influence on global weather patterns, not only increased volatility and intensified many events, but also dictated the location.

“While the re/insurance industry remains resilient in handling elevated loss costs, the focus now shifts to the upcoming peak of the Atlantic Hurricane Season, which may bring new challenges during the second half of the year.

“Natural catastrophes are a recurring phenomenon that can lead to significant disruption and damage while directly impacting human livelihoods.

“As these events occur within a complex world where outside factors can enhance the impacts of these events, the importance of addressing the underserved and helping others in their time of need with better information and insights will only grow in the future.”

Natural disasters were responsible for approximately 4,400 fatalities during the first half of 2022, significantly below the 21st century average of 26,700 and the median of 6,400.

The single deadliest disaster was the earthquake on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan in June, which claimed 1,089 lives.

The 197 notable natural disaster events recorded by Impact Forecasting for 1H 2022 was above the 21st century average of 192, with seasonal flooding in China registering as the costliest economic loss event, totalling at least $8.7 billion.

Despite a notable reduction from last year, 1H insured losses in the US were close to the 21st century average, accounting for nearly half of the global insurance industry impact.