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ZURICH: Natural catastrophes and extreme weather events caused around $250 billion in damage this year, an increase of 24 percent over the previous year, the world’s biggest reinsurer Swiss Re, estimated on Tuesday.

For the insurance industry alone, “extreme weather events... including a deep winter freeze, floods, severe thunderstorms, heatwaves and a major hurricane, resulted in annual insured losses from natural catastrophes estimated at $105 billion, the fourth highest since 1970,” Swiss Re said in a statement.

In fact, insured losses from natural disasters this year “again exceeded the previous 10-year average, continuing the trend of an annual 5-6-percent rise in losses seen in recent decades,” the reinsurance giant said. The two costliest natural disasters of the year were both recorded in the United States, Swiss Re said.

Hurricane Ida wreaked $30-32 billion in estimated insured damages, including flooding in New York. And winter storm Uri — which brought extreme cold and heavy snowfall that caused power grid failures in Texas — caused $15 billion in insured losses.

The costliest event in Europe was the flooding in Germany, Belgium and nearby countries in July, which caused $40 billion in economic losses and $13 billion in insured losses, Swiss Re calculated. In addition to natural catastrophes, man-made disasters caused $9.0 billion in economic losses, a decline of 38 percent from the previous year, and $7.0 billion in insured losses, down 24 percent year-on-year, Swiss Re said.

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