Natural disasters cost Asia-Pacific US$ 50 billion
Only US$ 9 billion were paid out in compensation. The region has the largest insurance gap than any other region. Globally, economic losses in 2021 reached US$ 280 billion. With climate change, the situation is set to worsen, experts say.
Milan (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Worldwide natural disasters caused an estimated US$ 280 billion in economic losses in 2021, the second most expensive year after 2017, this according to Germany-based Munich Re, one of the largest insurance companies in the world.
Overall, insurance companies paid out half of the losses, but in Asia-Pacific, only a small fraction of the damage was covered by the policy.
The economic cost of this region came to US$ 50 billion, or just 18 per cent of the global total, but only US$ 9 billion was repaid. This left a gap of 83 per cent, well above the average for the rest of the world which stands at 57 per cent.
“The natural disasters of 2021 have highlighted the enormity of the insurance gap in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Dr Achim Kassow, a member of Munich Re’s management board, quoted in the South China Morning Post.
The costliest disaster in Asia was the flooding in the Chinese province of Henan in July, which, according to official figures, left more than 300 people dead and 50 missing. Property and agricultural losses in the region reached US$ 16.5 billion, but only 10 per cent was covered by insurance, Munich Re noted.
A 7.1 earthquake that struck Japan's east coast in February caused economic losses worth US$ 7.7 billion, but only US.3 billion were insured, with an insurance gap of 70 per cent.
Globally, the United States suffered the largest economic losses with approximately US$ 145 billion, with some US$ 85 billion insured.
The most expensive natural event was Hurricane Ida, which hit the US east coast between late August and early September, causing damages worth US$ 65 billion, 36 of which were insured.
The second most expensive extreme climate event, floods in Germany in July, cost US$ 54 billion, with 13 covered by insurance.
“The 2021 disaster statistics are striking because some of the extreme weather events are of the kind that are likely to become more frequent or more severe as a result of climate change,” said Ernst Rauch, head of the climate solutions unit at Munich Re.
In addition to increased insurance coverage, developing pubic-private partnerships could help prevent uninsured damage, he added.