The loss tally is higher than usual with floods in Australia constituting the costliest disaster at $6.6 billion

The first half of 2022 saw lower natural disaster losses than in the comparative period of 2021, according to Munich Re. Floods, earthquakes and storms caused overall losses of some $65 billion compared with $105 billion in the loss-heavy previous year. At around $34 billion, insured losses were roughly in line with previous years.

Floods in Australia constituted costliest disaster in in terms of insured losses

During late summer/early Autumn, eastern Australia experienced extreme rainfall and floods causing losses of $6.6 billion.

Parts of Queensland and New South Wales saw record rainfall and flooding, with the last week in February being the wettest since 1900 and some areas recording their highest flood peaks since 1893. The provisional estimated cost to the insurance industry is currently at $3.7 billion.

”The natural disaster picture for the first half of 2022 is dominated by weather-related catastrophes,” said Torsten Jeworrek, member of the board of management at Munich Re.

”Extreme tornadoes in the US caused billions in damage, parts of eastern coastal Australia were submerged by floods, and southern Europe struggled with extreme heat, wildfires and drought.

”The recently published IPCC report warned of the need for insurers to adapt their loss models to adequately assess the changing risk. Loss prevention is a fundamental component in mitigating the economic effects of climate change.

”It is therefore extremely worrying that insurance penetration in developing and emerging nations is stagnating at well below 10%, and that even in industrial countries there is much room for improvement.”

Other countries in the Asia-Pacific region were also hit by major disasters. 

In Japan, a powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 7.3 struck east of the main island Honshu. The epicentre was not far from the site where the powerful Tohoku quake triggered a tsunami and the nuclear disaster at Fukushima eleven years ago.

Despite the much weaker magnitude of the earthquake in March 2022, overall losses still came to US$ 8.8bn, with insured losses at US$ 2.8bn.

In total, the Asia-Pacific region accounted for $22 billion of overall natural disaster losses in the first half of the year – higher than usual. Insured losses came to $8 billion.

Ernst Rauch, Chief Climate Scientist at Munich Re, and head of the Climate Solutions Unit, commented: “They may all be individual events with different causes, but taken together, one thing is becoming extremely clear: the powerful influence of climate change is becoming ever more evident. And the consequences for people across the world are becoming ever more palpable.

”The IPCC has made an even clearer diagnosis, stating that weather-related disasters such as heatwaves, torrential rainfall or droughts on a warmer Earth will increase in both frequency and intensity. Heatwaves will tend to last longer and bring more extreme temperatures.”