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.

In its latest sigma report, Swiss Re Institute puts the figure of natural catastrophe losses at USD 137 billion in 2019 alone. Most of them were caused by smaller recurring events linked to extreme weather – a sign that climate change is increasingly visible in our loss numbers. With almost two-thirds of the damage uninsured, millions of people and businesses continue to be exposed to a large protection gap.

This shows the stakes are high and rising.
How can we strengthen our resilience? ​

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137  billion
were lost due to natural catastrophes worldwide in 2019. Only 38% were insured.
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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 ​Weathering the storm – crisis lessons for climate resilience

    Urs Baertschi Chief Executive Officer Reinsurance EMEA / Regional President EMEA

  • Blog ​Beyond COVID-19: Three paths to a sustainable future

    Mike Mitchell Head P&S Underwriting Reinsurance

  • Blog ​Getting it right when tackling a global crisis

    Moses Ojeisekhoba Chief Executive Officer Reinsurance

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

    Edi Schmid Underwriting Advisor to the Group EC

Tracking the protection gap

Underinsurance is a major impediment when it comes to strengthening climate resilience. Since 2010 the global protection gap averaged a staggering USD 137 billion annually. Our tracker map looks at how natural catastrophe losses trended worldwide over the last ten years. What does the protection gap look like in your part of the world?
Explore the map Tracking the protection gap

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

Decoding climate change - what does it mean for the underwriter?

Europe, Middle East and Africa

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

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)

Americas

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.
  • FLOOD RISK PROTECTION

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

    Explore
  • TROPICAL CYCLONE COVER

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

    Explore
  • EARTHQUAKE RAPID RESPONSE

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

    Explore

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.
  • STORM

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

    Explore
  • QUAKE

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

    Explore
  • 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. ​

    Explore

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

Tags

mitigatingclimaterisk naturalcatastrophe sigma climatechange

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

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