Natural catastrophes in 2020: A reminder of the dangers faced in the Americas

As a company that aids financial recovery from natural catastrophes, Swiss Re is at the forefront of modeling extreme events and spreading the economic risk. In Canada, the US, and Latin America there's a lot to protect and as we've seen, one big storm, wildfire or earthquake can cripple local economies.

Our latest sigma reveals what’s behind the rising costs and what’s being done to defend our assets from the ravages of primary and secondary perils.

For example, last year’s North America hurricane season featured a record 30 named storms causing USD 21 billion in insured losses. Those storms struck mainly rural areas where there is a lower concentration of assets – e.g. homes, commercial buildings and vehicles. Had even one hurricane hit a densely populated urban area like south Florida, New Orleans or Houston, the losses would have been much more extensive.

Yet again was it was secondary perils like flooding accounted for more than 70% of natural catastrophe losses last year and impacted every country in the Americas. The latest edition of sigma illustrates the growing significance of these.

Key highlights of the report include:

  • Global economic losses from disaster events in 2020 were USD 202 billion
  • Insurance covered USD 89 billion of the absolute losses, mostly for damage inflicted by secondary perils
  • Deeper understanding of all present-day natural catastrophe risks, including of all factors contributing to secondary-peril losses, is needed

That's why it's more vital than ever to have a trusted partner by your side.  Let us help you tap new markets or improve the performance of your existing portfolio by applying our expertise and solutions. Contact us today.

​Climate risk in North and South America