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Region's economic losses from Nat CAT total US$50bn in 2021

Losses from natural disasters in the Asia-Pacific region remained modest in 2021, according to a report by global reinsurance Munich Re.

With overall economic losses of $50bn, of which $9bn were insured (indicating an insurance gap of 83%), the region accounted for just 18% of overall losses and 7% of insured losses worldwide.

The costliest natural disaster in the Asia Pacific region was a severe flood in Henan Province in central China, where countless rivers, including the Yellow River, burst their banks. Hundreds of thousands of homes were flooded. Overall losses came to some $16.5bn, with only about 10% of these insured.

A 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck off the east coast of Japan on 13 February 2021. The earthquake was not far from the epicentre of the Tohoku earthquake off Japan’s northeast coast, which 10 years earlier had triggered a devastating tsunami that led to the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The latest earthquake caused substantial losses of $7.7bn, with insured losses in the region of $2.3bn (insurance gap: 70%).

Dr Achim Kassow, a member of the board of management of Munich Re said, “The natural disasters of 2021 have highlighted the enormity of the insurance gap in the Asia-Pacific region. For example, only about 10% of the Henan flood losses in central China were insured. The earthquake close to the epicentre of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake saw insured losses of only around 20%. In spite of the obvious risk, earthquake insurance there is especially lacking among small businesses. And Super Typhoon Rai (Odette) in the Philippines was a humanitarian catastrophe. Greater insurance density would help disaster victims return to normality more quickly. Munich Re is willing and able to offer more insurance capacity in the form of suitable solutions that meet all region-specific needs.”

Global Nat CAT losses

Globally, natural disasters caused overall losses of $280bn in 2021, of which only US$120bn were insured, says Munich Re. The average global insurance gap was 57%.

Worldwide, natural disasters caused substantially higher losses in 2021 than in the two previous years. Based on provisional data, storms, floods, wildfires and earthquakes destroyed assets worth $280bn (vs $210bn in 2020 and $166bn in 2019).



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