By Elisa Jiménez Alonso
Aon’s latest Weather, Climate & Catastrophe Insight – 2018 Annual Report shows that the top 10 global economic loss events were all weather-related with the costliest being Hurricane Michael at $17 billion. The costliest event in terms of insured losses was the November Camp Fire racking up a bill of $12 billion. The total cost of weather-related disasters in 2018 was $215 billion out of the $225 billion total caused by all disasters (including earthquakes).
2017 and 2018 are the costliest back-to-back years for weather-related disasters on record, causing a total of $653 billion in economic losses. $237 billion of those losses were insured making 2017 and 2018 the most expensive back-to-back years for public and private insurers. 2018 was also the 4th costliest year on record for weather-related events with $89 billion of insured losses.
Overall, there were 42 billion-dollar disasters of which 39 were weather-related, 16 of those happened in the United States. Of the 18 billion-dollar insured loss events in 2018 all were weather-related and 13 of those events occurred in the United States. In the 21st century so far, tropical cyclones and severe convective storms represented 59% of global insured losses driven mainly by events taking place in the United States.
The deadliest weather-related event were the Monsoon floods in India that led to 1,424 deaths, it sits in second place after the earthquake and tsunami that hit Indonesia in September and killed 2,256 people. Floods accounted for 36% of worldwide fatalities closely followed by earthquakes, which caused 31%. With 10,300 deaths, 2018 ranks among the 12 years with the lowest disaster-related fatality totals since 1950.
However, the geographic distribution of the numbers of economic losses versus human fatalities still tells a story of severe social inequality. Whereas most of the economic losses happened in wealthy nations such as the United States, Europe, and Japan, the vast majority of deaths (79%) occurred in the Asia-Pacific region. About 1.2 billion people in the Asia-Pacific region live in poverty which greatly impacts their vulnerability, especially when combined with the exposure of the region to extreme weather.
Click here to download the full report.