Japan quake sets worst year in history for insurers

5 years ago by in Business

The earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand, along with other natural catastrophes which struck in 2011, led to a record $380 billion cost of natural disasters last year, insurance analysts say.

The figure is more than double compared to 2010 and three times larger than the average yearly value for the last ten years.

The Japanese disasters accounted for nearly half of the total global losses for insurance companies in 2011, at $35 billion to $40 billion. The total losses in the insurance business reached a record $105 billion over the last year, according to Munich Re, the biggest re-insurer in the world. The previous record was $101 billion, in 2005.

The earthquake that hit New Zealand last February brought additional costs worth of $13 billion for insurers.

Despite the high losses of the insurance industry, the number of deaths due to natural catastrophes was much lower in 2011, at 27,000, compared to the 296,000 figure registered in 2010, according to Munich Re.

More than half of last year’s victims were claimed by the quake and subsequent tsunami that hit Japan in March.