Natural catastrophes: How can we be more resilient?

As Earth's warming trend continues, climate change and urban sprawl are putting more of us in harm's way. It's time we turn the tide.

The risk we face from natural catastrophes (Nat Cat) is on the rise. That's because we live, build and work in locations most at risk from floods, storms, wildfires and extreme weather events. In cities or towns along the coast, on floodplains or near wildland – climate change is fuelling the risk in these areas, making weather-related disasters more likely and more severe.

Natural catastrophes led to over USD 175 billion of losses in 2020, according to Swiss Re Institute estimates. Most of the damage was caused by weather-related secondary perils such as wildfires and thunderstorms with tornadoes, floods and hail. Less than half of these losses – around USD 76 billion – were insured, exposing people and businesses to a large protection gap. Climate change and more extreme weather conditions are expected to exacerbate secondary peril events in the years to come.

How can we strengthen our resilience? ​

175  billion
Total economic losses caused by natural catastrophes in 2020, according to Swiss Re Institute estimates

What do Australian bushfires, UK floods and Japanese typhoons have in common?

These events are all part of the same global story. As urban populations grow and our climate continues to change, weather-related disasters are increasingly hitting our communities. Insurance protects residents and businesses against financial hardship by helping them back on their feet after a disaster. But to keep these risks insurable in the future, we need to adapt to climate change by taking appropriate measures now.

Find out more in our stories below.

  • Blog ​Why hurricane risk modelling has to change

    Martin Bertogg Head Cat Perils, Cyber & Geo

  • Blog ​Do we know the true value of biodiversity – and the cost of losing it?

    Patrick Raaflaub Group Chief Risk Officer

  • Blog ​COVID-19 is an existential threat… but so is the climate crisis

    Edi Schmid Underwriting Advisor to the Group EC

sigma explorer: the data you need at your fingertips

Explore the map


Asia Pacific

Peak perils and extreme weather put many of Asia's expanding urban centres at great risk.

Weather disaster losses rise as economies grow and climate changes

Climate is changing the insurance risk landscape. Or is it?

Natural Catastrophes: Keeping an eye on the elephant in the room

Europe, Middle East and Africa

Floods and droughts are two sides of the same coin in a region affected by more climate extremes.

Weathering the storm – crisis lessons for climate resilience

Extreme heat in Western and Southern Europe: A real and increasingly regular peril of climate change

Floods and drought: Two sides of the same coin

How climate change is affecting Germany (auf Deutsch)

Strengthening crop insurance with digital solutions

Climate change adaptation: What we can learn from the Dutch masters

Innovation in times of recession – a hurdle or a way out?

Winter storms in Europe

Insurance solutions for heavy rainfalls (auf Deutsch)


Hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and wildfires dominate the risk landscape in the Western hemisphere.

Natural catastrophe resilience remains low as climate risks increase

15 years after Katrina: Would we be prepared today?

Protection from perils – an Americas overview

US private flood insurance solutions

Earthquake risk in eastern Canada: mind the shakes

Flood: a threat not to be forgotten

Solutions Reinsurance clients

As a Reinsurance client, we partner with you to develop data-driven, tech-enabled natural catastrophe insurance solutions that will protect your customers and help you succeed in a rapidly changing market.

    The risk of flooding keeps on rising. We can help ensure the best possible outcome for your customers.​


    Hurricanes and typhoons can hit communities hard. Our solutions cover income losses sustained by your customers.​


    Earthquakes can lead to grave financial losses. Our shake vouchers offer fast, flexible and affordable solutions to your customers.​


Solutions Corporate clients

As a corporate client, you will benefit from tailor-made industry solutions provided by Swiss Re Corporate Solutions to cover risks along your entire value chain.

    A parametric insurance solution that provides financial flexibility for companies exposed to named windstorms (i.e. hurricanes) in North America and the Caribbean. ​


    An innovative, rapid-payout insurance product that gives financial flexibility in dealing with hardships in the immediate aftermath of an earthquake.​

  • FLOW

    A parametric insurance product that provides coverage for floods, droughts and other water-level events to companies exposed to rivers’ high or low water levels in Europe. ​


INSIGHTS Risk tools

Our insights, data and analytics help to understand and accurately assess natural catastrophe and climate risk.
  • Facts & Figures

    Our latest data charts for download provide up-to-date information on natural catastrophe losses.​

    Get the charts
  • CatNet®

    Our geo-tool shows high-quality natural hazard risk insights for single locations and global portfolios. ​

    Find out more
  • sigma Explorer

    Data at your fingertips: discover regional market structures and premium growth trends in the global re/insurance industry. ​

    Discover more


Publication ​Natural catastrophes in times of economic accumulation and climate change

Do you have any questions?