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Survey Report

Summary of Natural Catastrophe Events 2020

Willis Re eVENT Update

Casualty|Insurance Consulting and Technology|Property|Reinsurance|Risk Control and Claims Advocacy
Insurer Solutions|COVID 19 Coronavirus

February 2, 2021

This report summarizes economic and insured losses from the most relevant natural catastrophe events that occurred during 2020.

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About this Survey

This report summarizes economic and insured losses from the most relevant natural catastrophe events that occurred during 2020. The loss values presented herein include those reported by Willis Re, catastrophe model vendors, reinsurance companies and third-party organizations. Loss estimates are presented in U.S. dollars (USD), for which rates of exchange at December 1, 2020, have been used.

Our insured loss estimates from major natural catastrophes in 2020 of about USD 78 billion are the fourth largest since the 2011 annual market losses of USD 120 billion and 17% larger than the average annual losses over the past 10 years (see figure below). In spite of the 2020 insured losses being above average, they are only close to half of the losses from the peak observed in 2017 of USD 143 billion. It is important to highlight that these estimates do not include losses to the industry coming from neither COVID-19 (see the In Focus section in this report) nor man-made insured losses, such as the riots in late May in the U.S. or the explosion at the port of Beirut in early August. We estimate that overall man-made disasters would add USD 5.5 billion to the insured losses.

In the U.S., in spite of the significantly above average hurricane activity in the North Atlantic, the number of landfalling events did not follow this basin activity. The largest insured losses from a single event in the U.S. came from Hurricane Laura in late August with approximately USD 8 billion to 9 billion in losses, and from the severe weather in the Midwest in early August with around USD 5 billion to 6 billion in losses. In Europe, the largest loss-causing event came in early February when Windstorm Sabine/Ciara affected more than 10 countries producing close to USD 2 billion in insured losses. A point worth noting during 2020 for Europe is the clustering of windstorms that were observed (see the In Focus section). In Asia, Tropical Cyclone Haishen (Kristine) passed by Japan and South Korea in early September causing less than USD 1 billion in insured losses, which contrasts with the tropical cyclone losses observed in Japan during 2019. In the Middle East, the largest insured loss event in 2020 was the man-made explosion at Beirut’s port with estimated insured losses of USD 1.5 billion, while in Latin America and the Caribbean, the largest event of 2020 was hurricane Iota in November with an estimated economic loss in the order of USD 1.3 billion.

The aforementioned events, along with others having lower insured losses, are described in detail in the second part of this report, listed in chronological order, while a summary of events is provided in the tables at the end of the document, organized by peril/region affected in chronological order.

The figure shows that Willis Re insured loss estimates from major natural catastrophes in 2020
Insured losses from natural catastrophes since 2011 (Willis Re estimates)
of about $78 billion are the fourth largest since the 2011 annual market losses of $120 billion and 17% larger than the average annual losses over the past 10 years.
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Summary of Natural Catastrophe Events 2020 PDF 4.8 MB
Contacts

John Alarcon
Executive Director Catastrophe Analytics, Willis Re International

Yingzhen Chuang
Regional Director Catastrophe Analytics,
Willis Re International

Executive Vice President
Willis Re North America

Vaughn Jensen
Executive Vice President Catastrophe Analytics, Willis Re North America

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