On January 4, Munich Re and the Insurance Information Institute hosted a
webinar that provided an overview of 2011 natural catastrophes.
Speakers included Ernst Rauch, the head of Corporate Climate Center,
Munich Re, who provided a global national catastrophe update; Carl Hedde,
the head of Risk Accumulation, Munich Re America, whose presentation offered a
natural catastrophe update for the U.S.; Terese Rosenthal, Munich Re spokesperson;
and Robert Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute, whose report was
focused on the economic implications of natural catastrophe losses. The webinar notes
that in 2011 insured losses in the United States totaled $35.9 billion – above the
2000 to 2010 average loss of $23.8 billion (in 2011 Dollars). Events included a
very active thunderstorm (tornado-hail) season, with insured losses exceeding $25 billion,
more than double the previous record, and Hurricane Irene, which caused major flooding in
the northeastern U.S. Globally, the number of catastrophe events was 820, in line with
the 10-year from 2001 to 2010 average of 790, but insured losses reached a record $105 billion,
topping 2005 losses of $101 billion, with 47 percent of losses due to earthquakes.
The Japan earthquake and tsunami caused 15,840 fatalities, making it the
deadliest natural disaster in 2011.