Hurricane Ida and flooding in Europe made 2021 costly in disasters

BERLIN (AP) – Damage from Hurricane Ida in the US state of Louisiana and flash floods that hit Europe last summer helped make 2021 one of the costliest years in disasters natural, reinsurance company Munich Re said on Monday.

The company’s annual report put the overall economic losses caused by natural disasters around the world last year at $ 280 billion, making it the fourth costliest after 2011 when an earthquake and tsunami hit Japan.

Insured losses in 2021 amounted to $ 120 billion, the second highest after 2017, when Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria hit the Americas, according to Munich Re.

More than a third of those insured losses last year were caused by Ida ($ 36 billion) and the floods in West Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands ($ 13 billion).

The company warned that studies show a link between global warming and natural disasters.

“The pictures of natural disasters in 2021 are worrying,” said Torsten Jeworrek, member of the board of directors of Munich Re.

“Climate research increasingly confirms that extreme weather has become more likely,” he said. “Societies urgently need to adapt to increasing weather risks and make climate protection a priority. “

Jeworrek noted that not all natural disasters are climate related, citing volcanic eruptions and earthquakes seen last year.

Mary I. Bruner