U.S. Dominates First Half 2012 Catastrophe Losses
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U.S. Dominates First Half 2012 Catastrophe Losses

The lion’s share of the $12 billion in worldwide insured losses that occurred in the first half of 2012 were the result of natural catastrophes in the U.S., according to a report released Friday by Munich Re.

Tornado and wildfires in the U.S. dominated insured loss estimates, although overall global natural catastrophe losses “were relatively moderate in the first six months of 2012,” the reinsurer said.

Munich Re cited the active tornado and severe thunderstorm season fueling insured losses in the U.S., including a squall line that crossed several states between March 2 and March 4 that created 170 tornadoes causing $4 billion in total losses and $2.3 billion in insured losses.

“Overall, most of the severe thunderstorm-related outbreaks with tornadoes affect a limited area, and may cause serious damage locally but are not comparable in scale to events like severe hurricanes,” said Peter Höppe, head of Munich Re’s Geo Risks Research unit in the statement. “However, due to the number of events, the aggregate annual loss amounts can attain the level of a major hurricane landfall, as seen last year.”

The report states that 85% of worldwide insured losses and 61% of overall losses were predominately in the U.S. in the first half of the year, compared with an annual average of 65% of insured losses and 40% in total losses since 1980.

However, natural catastrophe losses moderated globally with total losses at end June tallying $26 billion, compared with a ten-year average of $75.6 billion for the corresponding period, Munich Re said. There were 450 natural hazard loss events in the first six months of 2012 on a global basis, the report added,

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