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Global Losses From Catastrophes Reached $270 Billion in 2021

Losses from floods, the number-one peril, have been growing at a significantly faster pace than global GDP, according to research by Swiss Re. 

A collapsed house in New Orleans after Hurricane Ida, Sept. 3, 2021. 

A collapsed house in New Orleans after Hurricane Ida, Sept. 3, 2021. 

Photographer: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg

Hurricane Ida and the freakish winter storm that froze Texas last February topped last year’s list of most damaging storms, according to the annual report on insurance industry losses caused by natural catastrophes put out by reinsurance giant Swiss Re. 

The report found that global economic losses from natural catastrophes such as floods, hurricanes and wildfires reached $270 billion in 2021. Of those losses, less than half, or $111 billion, were actually insured. Still, that $111 billion equaled the fourth-largest payout since the Swiss Re Institute, the insurer’s research arm, began keeping records in 1970.