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Global Catastrophe Recap Details Natural Disaster Costs in 2023

Continuity Insights

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A little over halfway through 2023, natural disasters around the world have already amounted to over $190 billion globally.

Natural disasters in the first half of 2023 cost roughly $194 billion globally, according to research from Aon. The “Global Catastrophe Recap: First Half Of 2023,” reveals that natural disasters this year have made it the fifth most economically impacted year on record, and resulted in the highest economic impact since 2011.

In addition to a rise in unprecedented weather events, from Turkey to New Zealand, inflationary pressure also continues to impact disaster costs. Earthquakes in Turkey and Syria reportedly suffered the biggest economic losses—making earthquakes the costliest natural disaster covered in this recap. This natural disaster also exposed issues revolving around underinsurance and building practices in this region.

When it comes to insured losses, this has been the 4th highest year recorded. According to the report, “there were at least 18 individual billion-dollar events, with 14 recorded in the United States, two in New Zealand, one in Turkey and one in Western and Central Europe.” The U.S. experienced a significant amount of severe convective storm activity, which the report defines as the higher (and increasing) frequency of smaller and medium-sized events, as opposed to catastrophic events.

Furthermore, the recap touched on the impact of the Canadian wildfires, which wasn’t costly in terms of material damage, but presented a significant health hazard for the U.S. Northeast, as concerns arose about wildfire smoke polluting the air.

When it comes to emerging risks, the report explores the impact of increasingly warmer climates and heatwaves. The deadliest heatwave recorded in 2023 was in Argentina and Uruguay, from earlier this year. In some reports, July 2023 was seen as one of the hottest months ever recorded. The global sea surface temperature has also been extremely high in the first half of the year, and is a risk to monitor for the rest of the year.

To read the full report on the cost of natural disasters for more details, click here.
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