Munich Re said the United States had 14 weather disasters in 2019 that caused $1 billion in damages or more. The U.S. total is $45 billion. Flooding in the Midwest accounted for most of those dollars. Those floods — on the Missouri, Mississippi and Arkansas rivers — hit $20 billion in damages.
The $45 billion figure is pretty close to that of 2018 but more than double the inflation-adjusted figure from 1980.
Wildfires in California and Alaska, Hurricane Dorian and Tropical Storm Imelda and several tornadoes on the Great Plains and the Midwest accounted for a lot of the rest of the disaster losses.
Gratefully, there weren’t as many hurricanes last year when compared to 2018. That means the U.S. share of global catastrophe losses dropped from the average of 35% to 31%.
Losses in the hurricane season hit $3 billion and of that $2 billion is insured.
Here’s more disastrous news about U.S. disasters in 2019. There have been 119 one-billion dollar disasters in the U.S. in the last decade. That’s double the number between 2009 and 2009.
Addressing climate change the report said 2019 is the second-wettest year on record. It had 34.78 inches of precipitation and that matches 1973’s all-time high. North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan all reported the most precipitation in their histories.
The average temperature in the contiguous 48 states was 52.7 degrees Fahrenheit or 11.5 Celsius. It is the coolest year since 2014 but still a lot warmer than average. Georgia and North Carolina had their hottest years ever.
Globally there were 820 natural disasters that caused over $150 billion in losses. That includes $52 billion in losses due to injuries. Both are about average for the last 30-years.
Over 9,000 people lost their lives to natural disasters in 2019. That compares to the 15,000 in 2018. Better prevention measures are being credited for the drop.
The insured portion of the overall losses worldwide is just above 35%. That’s the average from the last decade. But at 35% that means huge swaths of the globe are uninsured.
Source links: Insurance Journal, Carrier Management