Vol. 5 Num 558 Wed. December 21, 2005  

Natural disasters cause record losses for insurers in 2005

Natural disasters caused about 225 billion dollars (187.5 billion euros) in damage in 2005 making this year the costliest ever for insurers especially in the United States, the world's largest reinsurance company Swiss Re said yesterday.

About one-third of the amount, an estimated 80 billion dollars, was insured by the industry, Swiss Re said in a statement on preliminary estimates of catastrophe losses for 2005.

"At 80 billion dollars, insured property losses were higher than ever before," it added.

More than half of those insured losses, 45.0 billion dollars, were caused by hurricane Katrina, which prompted the evacuation of the flooded US city of New Orleans in August.

That storm caused damage totalling 135.0 billion dollars as it battered a swathe of the Caribbean and US southern seaboard, while hurricanes Wilma and Rita added another 15 billion dollars in losses.