Disparity between insured and economic losses in Asia-Pacific highlights low levels of insurance penetration

Total insured losses from nat cats were below normal in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region for 2013 according to Aon Benfield’s Impact Forecasting 2013 Global Catastrophe report.

The Great East China earthquake in April was the most expensive natural disaster globally, costing the economy $14bn, although total insured losses were much lower at around $250m.

The deadliest catastrophe of 2013 was Super Typhoon Haiyan which killed approximately 8,000 people after making landfall in the Philippines in early November. Haiyan was also the costliest for insurers in the region, inflicting $1.5bn worth in insured losses, but this figure is dwarfed by the economic damage caused, which is estimated to be about $13bn.

The report notes that the “large disparity between the insured losses and economic damages highlights the low level of insurance penetration throughout the region that are often the most vulnerable to large events”.

Analysing figures dating back to 1980, the report shows that in the past 10 years, economic losses in APAC trended higher at a slightly increased 10.3% annual rate, while insured losses have shown a slower 5% rate of growth.