Global Warming Insurance Claims Grew to $60 Billion in 2003

Global Warming Insurance Claims Grew to $60 Billion in 2003

Munich Re, the world's biggest re-insurance company, has attributed a sharp increase in weather-related disasters around the world to global warming.

In its latest annual report, the company -- which insures insurance companies =- puts the combined cost of this year's global natural disasters at more than $60 billion, about $5 billion more than the year before. Insured losses increased to about $15 billion, a jump of $3.5 billion from the previous year. The number of natural catastrophes recorded was around 700, roughly same level as 2002.

The report also found that more than 50,000 people were killed in natural catastrophes worldwide, almost five times as many as in the previous year. The company attributed the jump to the heat wave in Europe and the earthquake in Iran, each of which claimed more than 20,000 lives.

The year 2003 was marked not only by natural catastrophes but also by other remarkable events, says Munich Re: the power outages in the United States, the United Kingdom, Denmark, and Italy, for example; total losses involving two satellites; again numerous terrorist attacks; a major leak of poison gas in China shortly before the end of the year. “However, the extent of the losses caused by these events was much smaller than that caused by the natural catastrophes and they claimed fewer lives,” the company concluded.

Further figures and details are appended in tabular form, click here.