2014 kicked off with nasty winter conditions in the U.S. and Japan, and the summer and fall brought damaging thunderstorms and hail storms on both sides of the globe.
Swiss Re recently released its preliminary estimates on the total cost of damage for 2014: natural catastrophes and man-made disasters caused global economic losses of $113 billion last year, down from $135 billion in 2013.
Insured losses in 2014 totaled $34 billion, down 24 percent from 45 billion in 2013. Tragically, last year’s disaster events cost around 11,000 lives–but that figure is down from 2013, when disasters led to more than 27,000 deaths.
In happier news, the North Atlantic hurricane season left the U.S. untouched, with no major hurricane making landfall.
But on the Pacific side, Hurricane Odile struck Mexico with a fury, causing severe damage in Cabo San Lucas and other tourist destinations. With hotels and other high-value properties in these locations, the insured losses from the hurricane were measured at $1.6 billion. Swiss Re said Odile was the second most costly catastrophe in Mexico ever, behind Hurricane Wilma, which hit in 2005.
In the U.S., the most costly events occurred over a five-day period in May, when thunderstorms and large hail devastated homes, cars and other property. Economic losses totaled $3.7 billion, and insured losses reached $2.9 billion.
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