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Catastrophe losses soar to four-year high: Willis Re

Major catastrophe losses totalled $US39.5 billion ($51.43 billion) last year, the highest sum since 2012, Willis Re says in a new global report.

The largest insured loss, exceeding $US4.8 billion ($6.25 billion), arose from April’s earthquake in Kumamoto, Japan.

Canada’s Fort McMurray wildfire in May caused insured losses of about $US3.5 billion ($4.56 billion) and Hurricane Matthew in October resulted in the largest US insured loss, at $US2.3 billion ($3 billion).

Executive Director Catastrophe Analytics John Alarcon says the report shows “lower-profile perils” can cause substantial losses.

“Importantly, our report also highlights that economic losses continue to be higher than insured losses, and substantially so in some regions.

“Clearly the insurance industry has a significant role to play in helping economic recovery by supporting resilient societies and closing the protection gap between insured and total economic loss when natural catastrophes occur.”

Click here for the full report.

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