2016 was the costliest year for losses from natural disasters over the last four years according to data from reinsurer Munich Re. Estimated losses totalled $175bn, two-thirds higher than in 2015, and nearly as high as 2012’s $180bn when Hurricane Sandy caused $68bn of losses in the Caribbean and USA. The overall losses were above the inflation-adjusted 10-year average of $154bn and reinsurers regard this figure as mid-range for a typical year. But 2017 could break all records. Hurricane Harvey is estimated to have caused $65bn of damage and analysts are already forecasting worst-case scenarios of $130bn for Hurricane Irma which is one of the most devastating storms ever recorded in the Atlantic. And with last week’s terrible Chiapas earthquake in Mexico and Hurricane Jose following a similar path to Irma, the costs are likely to rise further still.
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