2002 below average for catastrophe losses

Report says financial losses due to man-made and natural catastrophes in 2002 returned to more average levels.

An annual special edition of Swiss re's Sigma report says that overall, in comparison to 2001, 2002 suffered less in terms of losses of lives and property due to natural and man-made catastrophe.

Lives lost due to catastrophe totalled 19,000 in 2002, against the loss of 33,000 lives in 2001. Almost half the lives lost in 2001 were due to the January 2001 earthquake that hit the Gujarat region.

In 2002 total economic losses due to natural/man-made disasters is estimated by Swiss Re to be about $40 billion. This is below the average recorded since 1990 of $68 billion. It is also below the totals for 2001, which are still being finalised due to the magnitude of property and business interruption stemming from the terrorist attack on the US.

The typhoons and floods that swept Taiwan and Japan in September 2001, caused an estimated $0.6billion in insured losses, putting Asia into the number 5 spot in the list of Top 5 insured losses of 2001. In 2002, though, Asia did not feature in the list, which was topped by the April tornadoes in the US and the July floods in Europe.

In terms of deadliest catastrophes, though, Asia continued to feature in the Top 5 list. Leading the list was the Afghanistan earthquake (March 02, victims: 2000 victims), and India's Andhra Pradesh heatwave (May 02, victims: 1037) and China's floods and earthquakes (June 02, victims: 771) ranked 4th and 5th, respectively.

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