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Insurance Industry Disaster Claims Fell to $45 Billion in 2013

Swiss Re Ltd., the world’s second-biggest reinsurer, said losses for the global insurance industry from natural catastrophes and man-made disasters fell 44 percent last year amid a quiet Atlantic hurricane season.

Insured losses fell to $45 billion from $81 billion in 2012, the Zurich-based reinsurer said in a statement today. The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, which ran from June through November, was the first since 1994 with no major storms.

Insurers covered less than a third of the $140 billion in total economic losses that occurred last year. The industry faced claims from flooding, including $4.1 billion of losses in Europe in May and June and $1.9 billion in Canada. Hailstorms in Germany and France led to $3.8 billion of insured damages, the most ever from a hail event.

“Insurance is a powerful measure to strengthen resilience against catastrophe events,” Swiss Re said in a report published on its website. “The wide gap between economic and insured losses caused by natural disasters places a significant burden on the public sector.”

Hurricane Sandy, which struck in 2012, increased globally insured losses that year. The U.S. still had the most insured losses last year as a result of several tornado outbreaks.

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