The U.S. suffered two of the largest, costliest disasters in the world in 2012, according to a recently released report by global reinsurance firm Aon Benfield, London. Hurricane Sandy was tops, at a cost of $65 billion, and the year-long Midwest/Plains drought cost about $35 billion.
The company's “Annual Global Climate and Catastrophe Report,” prepared by its Impact Forecasting division, states that Sandy and the drought accrued about half of the world's economic losses. Total economic losses include the entire cost of an event, while insured losses are the amount of economic losses that are covered by insurance, says Aon Benfield meteorologist and senior scientist Steve Bowen.
The U.S. alone accounted for nearly 90% of all of the world's insured losses in 2012. Along with the drought and Sandy, several severe weather events and Hurricane Isaac contributed to this total.
The report also points out that while nominal catastrophe losses are increasing at an alarming rate, economic losses as a percent of global GDP, which is a measure normalized for inflation and economic development, have stayed relatively stable over the past 30 years.