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Disasters cost US$113b damage in 2014: Swiss Re

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Extreme weather and other natural and man-made disasters caused US$113 billion in economic losses in 2014, reinsurer Swiss Re said on Wednesday.

[ZURICH] Extreme weather and other natural and man-made disasters caused US$113 billion in economic losses in 2014, reinsurer Swiss Re said on Wednesday.

This is 16 per cent less than the US$135 billion in losses recorded in 2013 and significantly below the average annual figure of US$188 billion for the previous 10 years.

Insurers covered US$34 billion of the damage, down 24 per cent from US$45 billion in 2013, the company said.

About 11,000 people lost their lives from disaster events, down from more than 27,000 fatalities recorded last year.

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Of the total economic losses recorded up to November 28, the bulk - US$106 billion of the US$113 billion total - was caused by natural catastrophes such as extreme weather.

The storms in the United States in early 2014 alone caused insured losses of US$1.7 billion, while a spate of storms across the country in May cost another US$2.9 billion.

Strong winds and heavy rains in Mexico brought by Hurricane Odile caused insured losses of US$1.6 billion, while a wind and hail storm that struck parts of France, Germany and Belgium in June cost US$2.7 billion.

Elsewhere, Swiss Re said it was too early to assess the losses caused by the dry summer in parts of China, which have affected agricultural output.

Likewise, it had no figures for the economic damage wrought by Typhoon Hagupit on the Philippines earlier this month, but said early estimates indicate it will be less than that caused by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.

AFP

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