Swiss Re sigma preliminary estimates for 2010 show that natural catastrophes and man-made disasters caused economic losses

Zurich, 30 November 2010 � According to initial estimates from
Swiss Re�s sigma team, worldwide economic losses from natural
catastrophes and man-made disasters were USD 222 billion in
2010, more than triple the 2009 figure of USD 63 billion. The
cost to the global insurance industry was USD 36 billion, an
increase of 34% over the previous year. Approximately 260 000
people died in these events, the highest number since 1976.

In 2010, severe catastrophes claimed significantly more lives than the
previous year: nearly 260 000 were killed, compared to 15 000 in
2009. The deadliest event in 2010 was the Haiti earthquake in January,
claiming more than 222 000 lives. Approximately 15 000 people died
during the summer heat wave in Russia. The summer floods in China and
Pakistan also resulted in 6 225 deaths.

High earthquake losses in 2010

Natural catastrophes cost the global insurance industry roughly
USD 31 billion in 2010, and man-made disasters triggered additional
claims of approximately USD 5 billion. By way of comparison, overall
insured losses totalled USD 27 billion in 2009. Despite notably higher
than average earthquake losses, overall claims in 2010 were in line with
the 20-year average due to unusually modest US hurricane losses.
However, the estimate of USD 36 billion is still subject to uncertainty due
to, amongst other things, the ongoing European winter storm season.

Eight events triggered losses of over USD 1 billion each

In the first eleven months of 2010, eight events each triggered
insurance losses in excess of USD 1 billion. The costliest event in
2010 was the earthquake in Chile in February, which cost the
insurance industry USD 8 billion, according to preliminary estimates.
The earthquake that struck New Zealand in September cost insurers
roughly USD 2.7 billion. Winter storm Xynthia in Western Europe led
to insured losses of USD 2.8 billion. Property claims from the BP
Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico are estimated at
USD 1 billion. Given the complexity of the claims, the figure is still
subject to substantial uncertainty. The overall insurance loss is higher,
as liability losses are not included in the sigma numbers. Floods in France during the month of June caused insured losses just below
USD 1 billion.

Natural catastrophes and man-made disasters cost society
USD 222 billion in 2010

These devastating events caused economic losses to soar to an
estimated USD 222 billion, compared to USD 63 billion in 2009.
Thomas Hess, Chief Economist of Swiss Re, commented: �The
humanitarian catastrophes again showed how important prevention and
post disaster management are for protecting the lives and health of
people affected by natural hazards. They also revealed large differences in
how developed insurance systems are in the affected countries and how
important insurance is in coping with the financial consequences of
disasters. While most of the costliest events caused by the earthquakes in
Chile and New Zealand and the winter storm in Western Europe were
covered by insurance, events like the earthquake in Haiti and floods in
Asia were barely insured.�

Definitions and selection criteria for sigma catastrophe statistics:
Natural catastrophes Loss events triggered by natural forces
Man-made disasters Loss events associated with human activities
Insured catastrophe losses Losses caused by the catastrophes covered by property
insurance
Total economic losses Also include the uninsured part of the property losses related
to the catastrophes
Minimum selection criteria:

Total losses

USD 86.6m
Or: Insured property claims Shipping: USD 17.4m

Aviation: USD 34.8m
Other: USD 43.2m
Or: Casualties Dead or missing:20
Injured: 50
Homeless: 2 000

 

Swiss Reinsurance Company Ltd

Swiss Re is a leading and highly diversified global reinsurer. The company operates
through offices in more than 20 countries. Founded in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1863,
Swiss Re offers financial services products that enable risk-taking essential to
enterprise and progress. The company�s traditional reinsurance products and related
services for property and casualty, as well as the life and health business are
complemented by insurance-based corporate finance solutions and supplementary
services for comprehensive risk management. Swiss Re is rated �A+� by Standard &
Poor�s, �A1� by Moody�s and �A� by A.M. Best. www.swissre.com/