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Global insured losses from disasters drop in H1 2017: Swiss Re

[ZURICH] Global insured losses from disasters plunged to US$23 billion in the first half of 2017 from US$36 billion a year earlier, Swiss Re estimates showed on Thursday.

Total economic losses from disasters dropped to US$44 billion from US$117 billion in the first half of 2016 as a result of fewer and less intense events, its preliminary estimates showed.

Lower levels of insurance payouts from natural catastrophes and other disasters have cut demand for insurance against such events, putting pressure on premiums.

Global insurance rates fell for a 17th consecutive quarter, second-quarter data from broker Marsh showed this week, with property rates down 2.8 percent.

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Thunderstorms in the United States caused some of the largest losses, Swiss Re said. A four-day storm in Colorado and other southern and eastern states in May resulted in US$1.9 billion in insured losses.

Cyclone Debbie, which hit the northeastern coast of Australia in March, led to US$1.3 billion of insured losses.

Around 4,400 people died or went missing as a result of disasters in the first half, Swiss Re said, down from 4,800 a year earlier.

"The toll may rise once estimates on the number of victims of Europe's severe June heatwaves are included," it said.