2015 saw lowest losses for natural disasters in 6 years: insurer

BERLIN -- Last year saw the lowest financial costs from natural disasters worldwide since 2009 as the El Nino weather phenomenon reduced hurricane activity in the North Atlantic, a leading insurer said Monday.

See Full Article

The year's most devastating disaster was the earthquake in Nepal in April, but only a fraction of the resulting losses was insured.

Insurer Munich Re said in an annual survey that both insured losses and overall costs resulting from disasters were the lowest since 2009. It said that there were some $27 billion in insured losses, while overall costs -- including losses not covered by insurance -- totalled $90 billion. Those figures were down from $31 billion and $110 billion respectively in 2014.

The costliest single event for the insurance industry was a series of winter storms that hit the northeastern U.S. and Canada in February. They generated insured losses of $2.1 billion and total losses of $2.8 billion.

In contrast, the earthquake in Nepal caused total damage valued at $4.8 billion, but only $210 million of that was insured. That underlined the fact that, in developing countries, the level of insurance coverage remains very low.

In several other years, hurricanes hitting North America in particular have caused significant costs to the insurance industry.

However, "in terms of financial losses, we were somewhat fortunate in 2015: strong tropical cyclones frequently only hit sparsely populated areas or did not make landfall at all," said Peter Hoeppe, the head of Munich Re's risk research unit. "In the North Atlantic, El Nino helped to curtail the development of heavy storms."

El Nino is caused by the warming of waters in the Pacific Ocean that causes changes in rainfall patterns. Hoeppe cautioned that scientists believe the phenomenon may be followed by its twin sister, La Nina, which would encourage the formation of North Atlantic hurricanes.


Latest Economic News

  • Brookfield, Sagard in huddle to discuss next play for Performance Sports Group

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- Two of the largest shareholders in Performance Sports Group have signed confidentiality agreements with each other and plan to discuss strategic options for the maker of Bauer hockey skates, Easton baseball gear and other sports equipment. Source
  • Twitter to cut 9% of its staff

    Economic CBC News
    Twitter Inc said Thursday it would cut nine per cent of its global workforce to keep costs down as the microblogging service reported quarterly results that beat Wall Street expectations, lifting shares. Third-quarter revenue growth slowed sharply but topped analysts' expectations. Source
  • PotashCorp Q3 profit plunges despite record volumes

    Economic CTV News
    SASKATOON -- Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan (TSX:POT) says it achieved record sales volumes for a third quarter, but saw its profit fall due to weaker prices for the three major types of fertilizer that it produces. Source
  • Cenovus Energy's operating loss grows despite cost-cutting progress

    Economic CTV News
    CALGARY -- Cenovus Energy Inc. (TSX:CVE) reported a $251-million loss for the third quarter and said Thursday it's looking for additional areas to cut costs. The loss amounted to 30 cents per share of the Calgary-based company, which is active in Alberta's oilsands, conventional oil production and oil refining. Source
  • Teck Resources reports $234M Q3 profit, revenue up

    Economic CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- Teck Resources Ltd. (TSX:TCK.B) says it earned $234 million in its latest quarter, helped by strong production and moves to reduce costs. The Vancouver-based mining company said the profit amounted to 40 cents per diluted share for the quarter ended Sept. Source
  • Ford's 3Q profit falls on recall, truck launch

    Economic CTV News
    DEARBORN, Mich. -- Troubles in Ford Motor Co.'s home market -- including a massive recall and the difficult launch of new heavy-duty pickups -- are hurting the company's bottom line. Ford said Thursday its net income plunged 56 per cent to $957 million in the third quarter, down from $2.2 billion in the July-September period a year ago. Source
  • National Bank shaking up workforce, with 600 departures and 500 hires

    Economic CTV News
    MONTREAL -- National Bank of Canada says it's planning to cut 600 employees -- about half through a targeted retirement program -- as it adapts to a technological shift in the banking industry. At the same time, the Montreal-based bank expects to fill 500 other positions over the same period, primarily in sales and service and information technology jobs. Source
  • National Bank announces restructuring, cutting jobs and moving staff

    Economic CTV News
    MONTREAL -- National Bank of Canada announced a restructuring that will see 600 jobs cut over the next year and an additional 300 workers offered retirements or moved to other positions. At the same time, the bank expects to fill 500 other positions over the same period, primarily in sales and service and information technology jobs. Source
  • British economy grows more than expected after Brexit vote

    Economic CTV News
    LONDON -- Britain's economy grew faster than expected in the three months after its vote to leave the European Union despite concern that uncertainty over the country's future would weigh on business. The figures, however, are preliminary and experts warn they do not yet reflect some of the looming negative impacts, such as an expected rise in inflation. Source
  • Twitter cuts 9 per cent of its workforce worldwide

    Economic CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Twitter, seemingly unable to find a buyer and losing money, is cutting about 9 per cent of its employees worldwide. Twitter Inc., which has struggled amid competition from the likes of Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram, said Thursday that it expects to book about $10 million to $20 million in workforce restructuring charges. Source