According to the latest figures from Munich Re, first-half global economic losses from natural catastrophes in 2014 totaled $42 billion; well below the 10 year average of $95 billion. Naturally, insured losses were lower as well, coming in at $17 billion, with a 10 year average of $25 billion. Thankfully, the 2,700 fatalities attributed to natural catastrophes during this time were extremely far below the 10 year average of 53,000.
The U.S. accounted for the greatest percentage of economic losses at 35%, while Europe and Asia accounted for 30% each.
The most fatalities in the U.S. were attributed to 11 winter storm and cold wave events. Due in part, to the Polar Vortex that plunged much of the country into the deep freeze during the first quarter.
The most insured losses were caused by 33 severe thunderstorm events, totaling at least $6.7 billion dollars. Among them;
– The April 28 – May 1st weather episode that spawned 80 tornadoes and caused roughly 1.1 billion in insured losses.
– A thunderstorm outbreak from May 18 – 23 that raged across the nation from Montana to New York dropping golf and baseball sized hail and bringing hurricane force winds, resulting in $1.7 billion in insured losses.
Given that we continue to see round after round of severe thunderstorms and we are moving closer to the height of the Atlantic hurricane season, no doubt the losses will steadily increase over the coming months. We can only hope that the decrease in fatalities is a trend that remains.