The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released its year-end catastrophe statistics last week. A staggering 8% of the U.S. population was impacted by a catastrophe of some kind in 2017. The 8% translates to 25 million people.
• Was involved in 59 major disaster declarations
• 16 emergency declarations
It was — indeed — a busy year. There were 17 named storms and 10 became hurricanes. Six were major hurricanes including Harvey and Irma which became the first two major hurricanes to hit the continental U.S. in a dozen years.
Wildfire ripped through the Western U.S. especially California where two fires — the Tubbs Fire in Northern California and the Thomas Fire farther south — wreaked havoc on the local populations and the state’s economy.
The FEMA run National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) shelled out $8 billion in flood insurance claims and that’s just so far. It’s also the year in which FEMA transferred more risk to the private sector and it received $1.042 billion to help pay claims.
As for other disasters, FEMA paid out $7.2 million in assistance to individuals and to the public in general. Close to five million households applied for assistance. Billions were also sent to public agencies and to states, local governments and tribal and territorial governments to rebuild the infrastructure from storm and disaster damages.
Reinsurer Munich Re put out its own disaster statistics and said total losses worldwide last year — insured and uninsured combined — hit $330 billion. It’s the second worst year in history and the year it doesn’t beat is 2011.
Munich Re Corporate Climate Center’s Ernst Rauch said, “We have a new normal 2017 was not an outlier.”
Both Munich Re and Swiss Re tab global losses for insurers as very high. Swiss Re says around $136 billion and Munich Re puts losses at $1 billion less and $135 billion. It is the third highest catastrophe insurance loss year on record.
The United States was hardest hit.
Source links: Insurance Business America, Business Insurance, Insurance Journal, Reuters