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Munich Re and Insurance Information Institute highlight 2008 natural catastrophes

12:00 AM CET 2009/01/15

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    January 15, 2009 – Munich Re, Munich Re America, and the Insurance Information Institute have teamed once again to present their second webinar designed to provide journalists with an overview of 2008 natural catastrophes. The presentation included information about major natural catastrophes worldwide and their economic impact, compared 2008 cats with prior years, and discussed how global warming and climate change is likely influencing cat trends.

    Driven by high losses from weather-related natural catastrophes, 2008 was – on the basis of figures adjusted for inflation – the third most expensive year on record, exceeded only by the hurricane year of 2005 and by 1995, the year of the Kobe earthquake. Throughout the world, in 2008 more than 220,000 people died as a result of natural catastrophes. Overall losses totaled some US$ 200bn (2007: US$ 82bn) but were still below the record set in 2005 (US$ 232bn in current values). Insured losses in 2008 rose to US$ 45bn, about 50% higher than the previous year.

    Insured losses in the United States in 2008 were above $30 billion – the 4th highest in U.S. history. The biggest contribution to these figures came from hurricanes (six tropical cyclones made landfall in the U.S., three at hurricane intensity: Dolly, Gustav, and Ike), record insured losses due to thunderstorms, damaging wildfires in Southern California and floods in the Midwest.


    This press release contains forward-looking statements that are based on current assumptions and forecasts of the management of Munich Re. Known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the forward-looking statements given here and the actual development, in particular the results, financial situation and performance of our Company. The Company assumes no liability to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.