Natural Disasters Set a Record $135 Billion in Claims in 2017

And this may be the new normal, according to one agency.
Natural Disasters Set a Record $135 Billion in Claims in 2017
Image credit: Win McNamee | Getty Images

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Hurricanes, wildfires and earthquakes did a record amount of damage this past year, according to Munich Re, a German-based reinsurer.

According to Munich Re’s natural catastrophe review, the insurance industry was hit with a record-high $135 billion bill. Overall losses, including the uninsured, topped $330 billion. 2017 was the second most costliest year in history behind 2011, when the Tohoku earthquake in Japan caused $354 billion in today’s dollars.

The U.S. share of losses in 2017 was higher than average: 50 percent as compared to the long-term average of 32 percent.

Related: Staying on Course Despite the Ravages of Hurricane Maria

In a year that saw a frightening abundance of catastrophic events that destroyed property and lives, Hurricane Harvey was the costliest disaster of 2017, doing $85 billion in damages. Ernst Rauch, head of Munich Re’s Corporate Climate Center, which monitors climate change risks, told Reuters he expects more frequent extreme events in years to come.

“We have a new normal,” he said. “2017 was not an outlier.”

Related: 5 Ways You Can Help Mexico After the Deadly Earthquake

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