Europe suffered the year’s two most expensive disasters

Insurers paid €32.6bn of global catastrophe claims in 2013, down 44% on the €58.7bn they paid in 2012, according to Swiss Re.

Natural catastrophes accounted for €26.8bn of the total, with the remainder coming from man-made events.

Total economic losses in 2013 were €101.5bn, down 29% on 2012’s €146bn.

The industry’s two most expensive catastrophes occurred in Europe. The flooding in central and eastern Europe in May and June was 2013’s most expensive event, with insurers paying out €2.97bn.

Hailstorms in Germany and France in July ranked second, costing the industry €2.75bn.

The biggest humanitarian catastrophe of the year was Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the Philippines in November. About 7,500 people died or went missing, and the storm left 4 million people homeless.