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Munich Re: North American Thunderstorms Drove $68 Billion Loss in 1st Half

By Jessica Sier

Natural disasters caused losses of $68 billion worldwide in the first half of 2020, largely on account of severe thunderstorms in North America, Munich Re AG said Thursday.

The German reinsurer said this total result was slightly lower than the 30-year-average of $74 billion, adjusted for inflation, and was largely caused by flash flooding, tornadoes and hail across North America.

Around 40% of those losses were insured at $27 billion, which is higher than the 30-year-average of $20 billion.

While North America accounted for 47% of overall losses and 82% of insured losses, Cyclone Amphan in India was one of the most expensive natural disasters worth $11.5 billion.

A total of 2,900 people died in natural disasters in the first half of the year, much lower than the average figures for both the last 30 years and the last 10 years.

Munich Re warned that climate change is likely to increase the risk of thunderstorms and wildfires in North America.

"The world finally needs to take vigorous action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to prevent losses and ensure we are not taken unawares by the consequences of climate change, as we were with the current coronavirus pandemic," the company said.

Write to Jessica Sier at

Corrections & Amplifications

This article was corrected at 1324 GMT because the original incorrectly said Munich Re had a $68 billion loss in the first half of 2020. The figure represents losses caused by natural disasters in the first half in the world, not for the company.

Natural disasters caused losses of $68 billion worldwide in the first half of 2020, largely on account of severe thunderstorms in North America, Munich Re AG said Thursday.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 23, 2020 06:14 ET (10:14 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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