Global natural catastrophes and man-made disasters result in $40 billion in insured losses
New York, NY (Feb. 17, 2014) – Guy Carpenter & Company, LLC, the leading global risk and
reinsurance specialist and member of Marsh & McLennan Companies, has released
its 2013 Catastrophe Review which shows that natural catastrophes and man-made disasters in
2013 resulted in insured losses of approximately $40 billion. Following above-average losses
experienced in 2011 and 2012, 2013 provided a respite for the (re)insurance industry as insured
losses were considerably less than the ten-year average of approximately $60 billion.
“Last year will likely be known as the ‘year of the flood,’ with significant global flood events affecting
Central Europe, Australia, Canada and the United States,” said Julian Alovisi, Vice President for Guy
Carpenter. “Although 2013 was relatively quiet compared to past years, several major events such
as the tornado outbreaks in the U.S., floods, hail and windstorms in Europe and Typhoon Haiyan in
the Philippines inflicted widespread devastation and significant losses on impact.”
Europe, Middle East, Africa
Central Europe experienced the worst flood event of 2013. Persistent heavy rain caused major rivers
to overflow their banks and in some cases, flood defenses were breached. Germany in particular
was badly affected as the floods inundated countless homes, businesses and crop fields. Estimated
insurance losses from this event were approximately $4.1 billion, with economic losses of about $18
To further compound the devastation, the flooding was followed by a series of hail events in late July.
In particular, Hailstorm Andreas damaged approximately 100,000 properties and 50,000 cars in the
northern and southern regions of the country. This event became one of the costliest natural
disasters to hit Germany, with estimated insured losses of $3.7 billion. A series of severe windstorms
in Northern Europe also caused significant damage in the autumn and early winter months, with
insured losses from Windstorms Christian and Xaver totaling approximately $1.4 billion and $925
In 2014, soil saturation will be a major concern for many areas of Europe, further amplifying the risk
of flood during normally wet months.
In 2013, Asia and Australasia were impacted by both natural and man-made catastrophes. The most
costly man-made event occurred in China after a major fire hit a large microchip factory in
September. Reports estimated that the cost to the (re)insurance sector totaled $1.3 billion, making it
the most expensive single-risk loss of 2013. The region was also hit by a number of natural
catastrophes in 2013, the first of which occurred in Australia in the form of severe flooding. This
event incurred insured losses of approximately $1 billion, according to the Insurance Council of
Meanwhile, in the Northwest Pacific Ocean, there were 29 named storms, 16 typhoons and seven
super typhoons, with an explosive increase in tropical cyclone activity in the mid-to-late-autumn
months. November’s Super Typhoon Haiyan was possibly the most powerful landfalling tropical
cyclone on record. Haiyan tragically inflicted over 7,000 fatalities and severe damage to the
Philippines due to extreme winds and storm surge. The super typhoon incurred insured losses of
$1.5 billion, according to the Philippine Insurers and Reinsurers Association, with a total loss of
approximately $10 billion.
The Americas were also impacted by flooding in 2013, with notable events occurring in Alberta,
Toronto and Colorado. In the Calgary, Alberta region of Canada, flooding caused an estimated $2
billion in insured losses, with economic losses of $4.8 billion. This flood event, coupled with flash
flooding in Toronto, Ontario in July, meant Canada experienced its most expensive insured
catastrophe loss year on record.
Despite the relatively quiet tornado season in the United States, there were a handful of severe
thunderstorm outbreaks. Most notable was the outbreak in May that affected the Southeast, Midwest
and Southern Plains. This outbreak spurred the devastating Moore, Oklahoma tornado which caused
insured losses of approximately $1.8 billion. Another burst struck shortly after the Moore event,
affecting the Midwest and Southern Plains and included the El Reno tornado, which incurred insured
losses of $1.4 billion.
“Heading deeper into 2014, we are very concerned about the water situation in the state of
California,” James Waller, PhD, Research Meteorologist for GC Analytics®. “In 2013, California
experienced the lowest precipitation in recorded history for the state. This has already led to
exceptionally severe drought conditions in the area. If these conditions continue to persist, lasting
and significant impacts to water resources, agriculture and an aggressive wildfire season will be
major areas of concern.”
2013 Hurricane Season
The 2013 Atlantic Hurricane season was one of the most inactive on record. The most noteworthy
events of the 2013 hurricane season were the landfalls of Hurricane Ingrid (Atlantic) and Tropical
Storm Manuel (Pacific) in Mexico in September. These storms caused excessive rainfall, flooding
and mudslides, causing thousands to be displaced. The combined estimated insured losses for these
events totaled $920 million, according to the Mexican Association of Insurance Institutions.
Only five other seasons since 1970 had less activity than 2013 in the Atlantic basin. The quiet
season was in part due to persistent dry, stable air over large portions of the Atlantic main
development region. The inactive season was unexpected given statistical forecasts for aboveaverage
activity provided by seasonal outlook providers. There is, however, no guarantee that the
2014 Atlantic hurricane season will be like the 2013 season.
About Guy Carpenter
Guy Carpenter & Company, LLC is a global leader in providing risk and reinsurance intermediary services. With
over 50 offices worldwide, Guy Carpenter creates and executes reinsurance solutions and delivers capital
market solutions* for clients across the globe. The firm’s full breadth of services includes line-of-business
expertise in agriculture; aviation; casualty clash; construction and engineering; excess and umbrella; life,
accident and health; marine and energy; medical professional liability; political risk and trade credit;
professional liability; property; retrocessional reinsurance; surety; terrorism and workers compensation. GC
Fac® is Guy Carpenter’s dedicated global facultative reinsurance unit that provides placement strategies,
timely market access and centralized management of facultative reinsurance solutions. In addition, GC
Analytics®** utilizes industry-leading quantitative skills and modeling tools that optimize the reinsurance
decision-making process and help make the firm’s clients more successful. For more information, visit
Guy Carpenter is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies (NYSE: MMC), a global team of
professional services companies offering clients advice and solutions in the areas of risk, strategy and human
capital. With 54,000 employees worldwide and annual revenue of $12 billion, Marsh & McLennan
Companies is also the parent company of Marsh, a global leader in insurance broking and risk management;
Mercer, a global leader in talent, health, retirement, and investment consulting; and Oliver Wyman, a global
leader in management consulting.
*Securities or investments, as applicable, are offered in the United States through GC Securities, a division of MMC Securities Corp., a US
registered broker-dealer and member FINRA/SIPC. Main Office: 1166 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036. Phone: (212) 345-5000.
Securities or investments, as applicable, are offered in the European Union by GC Securities, a division of MMC Securities (Europe)
Ltd., which is authorized and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Reinsurance products are placed through qualified affiliates of
Guy Carpenter & Company, LLC. MMC Securities Corp., MMC Securities (Europe) Ltd. and Guy Carpenter & Company, LLC are affiliates
owned by Marsh & McLennan Companies. This communication is not intended as an offer to sell or a solicitation of any offer to buy any
security, financial instrument, reinsurance or insurance product.
**GC Analytics is a registered mark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.