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Storms cost billions – Severe thunderstorm damage worldwide in first half of the year News

Storms cost billions – Severe thunderstorm damage worldwide in first half of the year News

  • Severe thunderstorms caused $35 billion in insured losses worldwide in the first half of the year.
  • In just six months, damage from thunderstorms has been more than twice the annual average for the past 10 years.
  • Much of the damage is due to severe thunderstorms in the United States.
  • Experts from reinsurer Swiss Re estimate the economic costs at $125 billion. In the same period in the previous year, it was slightly more at 129 billion.

According to the study, $54 billion in economic costs are insured, and natural disasters alone cost an estimated $50 billion to insurance companies’ budgets. This is the second-highest value since 2011 and significantly exceeds the 10-year average of $32 billion, Swiss Re said in a statement.

Thunderstorms are a big component of this year’s disaster balance sheet. According to the information, nearly 70 percent of the damages incurred by the insured resulted from severe thunderstorms accompanied by thunder, lightning, storms, heavy rain and hail. Especially in the United States and there in Texas, these things raged furiously.

“This shows that secondary natural hazards are causing more damage than ever before,” Martin Bertog, Head of Disaster Risk, was quoted as saying in the statement. The drivers of this trend are global warming and increasing economic value accumulation in urban areas.

Stark insurance gaps

Secondary natural hazards include floods, hail, wildfires, or droughts, while hurricanes or earthquakes fall into the first category. The devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria caused the largest economic loss in the first half of the year estimated at 34 billion US dollars, of which only 5.3 billion US dollars were insured.


Thunderstorms in the US in particular—Jeffersonville, Indiana, pictured—are a drag on reinsurers’ budgets.

Keystone/Archive/Chuck Branham

Insurance gaps are also a problem in developed countries. This was demonstrated by flooding in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy in May. According to Swiss Re, the economic damage amounts to about $10 billion, of which only $0.6 billion is expected to be insured.

In the second half of the year, the picture is usually dominated by the hurricane season in the United States. So far it has been quiet there. However, since the beginning of July, the United States, northwestern China and southern Europe have suffered from heatwaves, Swiss Re writes. In southern Europe severe forest fires broke out in the arid climate. It is still too early to estimate the damage.