Nature's Hefty Bill In 2023 Adds Up To A Whopping $250 Billion, Courtesy Of Thunderstorms And Earthquakes


The world suffered approximately $250 billion in damages due to severe thunderstorms in North America and Europe and a series of devastating earthquakes in 2023.

What Happened: According to a report by the world’s largest reinsurance company, Munich Re, natural disasters in 2023 resulted in global economic losses similar to the previous year, CNBC reported on Tuesday. The insured losses for the year stood at $95 billion, a decrease from $125 billion in 2022.

The massive economic losses were driven by a significant number of severe regional storms. Thunderstorms in North America destroyed approximately $66 billion in assets, with $50 billion covered by insurance. The losses totaled $10 billion in Europe, with $8 billion being insured.

Munich Re noted that such high thunderstorm losses were unprecedented for the U.S. and Europe. The company warned that losses from thunderstorms, often referred to as “secondary perils,” are likely to increase in the future due to the climate crisis making extreme weather more frequent and intense.

Despite no so-called mega-disasters in industrialized countries, the report highlighted that 2023 marked another year of “extremely high” damages, both economically and in terms of insurance claims.

See Also: Tesla Steps Up To Offer Free Supercharging For A Week In Japan’s Earthquake-Hit Regions

The report also highlighted a significant increase in the number of deaths caused by natural disasters, rising to 74,000 in 2023, far above the annual average of 10,000 for the previous five years.

Approximately 63,000 deaths, or 85% of the year’s total, were caused by earthquakes in 2023. This was the highest death toll since 2010. A series of earthquakes in Turkey and Syria in early February resulted in an economic loss of around $50 billion and claimed over 55,000 lives, according to the British Red Cross.

Why It Matters: This concern has been underscored by various reports on the evolving impact of climate change on global natural disaster patterns and the related challenges faced by the insurance industry. The report also appears just days after earthquakes shook central Japan and Southern California.

Efforts to address these challenges have ranged from technological solutions like AI-driven early warning systems to broader socioeconomic shifts aimed at enhancing climate resilience in the face of a changing environment.

Read Also: Southern California Quake Shakes Start Of 2024, No Tsunami Warning

Image via Shutterstock

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