For the insurance industry, the forest fires in California in the past year, the worst fire of all time. The world’s largest reinsurer Munich Re has estimated the total economic loss total is now at $ 24 billion, a multiple of the in case of Fire usual sum. Of which $ 18 billion were insured.

“These fires were a new loss record, even with nearly 100 deaths a sad humanitarian sacrifice peak,” says Ernst Rauch, head of the climate research Department of the company. Before that, it had been in the US Federal state as early as 2017 the record of damage caused by forest fires. “There is the case of natural disasters always outliers, but two years in a row is a multiple of the normal loss amount, that is particularly striking.”


The damages should be, among other things, that’s why so high, because the settlement in the California’s mountain region is continuing to increase. “But that’s not the only explanation, there are meteorological anomalies.” California is one of the regions that have warmed in the past decades is above average. “It is not the number of fires has increased, but the affected area. It burns more and faster.”

The five worst natural disasters of 2018

date country/Region event fatalities overall losses Insured losses 8.-25.11. 2018, the United States forest fire (Camp Fire) 86 16.500 million USD 12,500 million USD* 8.-10.10. 2018 USA, Cuba hurricane “Michael” 45 16.000 million USD 10,000 million USD* 10.-27.9. 2018 USA-hurricane “Florence” 53 14.000 million USD 5,000 million USD* 1.-6.9. To 2018, Japan, Taiwan, Typhoon “Jebi” 17 12.500 million USD 9,000 million USD 5.-9.7. To 2018, Japan, Flood, 224 Re of 9,500 million USD 2.400 million USD

source: Munich. Order according to the total damage. * Loss estimate from Property Claim Services (PCS) included

A similar pattern is words to smoke in many regions of the world to observe, also in Germany. “The Winter have become wetter and summers drier.” Germany had been 2018, more than two degrees warmer than the long-term average. “In Germany, we are approaching to a certain extent in each of the years in the Two-degree-value to be limited according to the Convention of Paris,” said the geoscientists.

globally, natural disasters caused to 2018, with $ 140 billion in a lower total damage than in the long-term average, which is 160 billion. However, a higher proportion met of the insurance industry: The acquisitions of 80 of the 160 billion, the average in the past three decades, was 41 billion.

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in Europe, caused by drought and forest fires was 2018 high damage of 3.9 billion dollars, of which only a small part of the insured “Europe and North America can adapt to climate change relatively well, but 90 percent of the world’s population live outside of these two regions,” said smoke.

deaths far below average

The hurricane season in 2018, according to Munich Re also unusual – it was about the oceans of the Northern hemisphere, more storms than usual. Overall, hurricanes have caused in the world’s total losses of 56 billion dollars. The number of fatalities decreased, however, with an average of more than 50,000 people are killed annually, in the last year to 10,400. The single event with the most fatalities were the earthquake and the Tsunami, Indonesia looked for in September 2018 home. In 2102 people died according to official statistics, (read here more of the puzzles that the Tsunami geoscientists give up until today.)

“the long-term Trend of higher losses from natural disasters, global buffer, you must increase the ability to adapt to extreme weather events,” said smoke. “This can be, for example, building codes, or a predictive land-use. It simply makes no sense to build in designated flood areas. In California would have to be watched with a sharp eye on where it is settled.”

Carsten Hoefer, dpa/chs

Sam Yoon has many years of experiences in journalism. He has covered such areas as information technology, science, sports and politics. Yoon can be reached at 82-2-6956-6698.