Insured losses from global natural disasters during the six-month period ending June 30, 2014 reached $22 billion. That compares to $27 billion in the first half of 2013 and is approximately 19 percent below the 10-year average of $27 billion, according to Aon Benfield’s Impact Forecasting.

The firm said about 55 percent of insured losses occurred in the United States, 23 percent in Europe, and 19 percent in Asia.

Total economic losses from global natural disasters during the same six-month period reached $54 billion compared to $95 billion in 2013. The latest economic loss figure is almost 50 percent lower than the 10-year (2004-2013) average of $106 billion, Impact Forecasting reported.

Around 39 percent of global economic losses sustained during the first half of 2014 were covered by either private or government-sponsored insurance programs, slightly above the 10-year (2004-2013) average of 30 percent, highlighting that a greater proportion of disaster losses occurred in regions with higher insurance penetration.

“Despite some well documented natural disaster events during the first half of 2014, our data show that losses from both an economic and insured perspective were each below their recent averages,” Steve Bowen, associate director and meteorologist within Aon Benfield’s Impact Forecasting team, said. “However, a relatively quiet first six months does not mean a similar trend will continue throughout the rest of the year.”

The severe thunderstorm peril was the costliest disaster type, accounting for 32 percent of the economic loss and 46 percent of the insured loss during the period, and comprising mainly hail and wind events in the U.S. and Europe, according to the report.

In order of size, the five largest economic loss events in the first half of 2014 were Japan winter weather in February ($6.25 billion); Southern and Eastern European flooding in May ($4.5 billion); Brazil drought from January to June ($4.3 billion); U.S. drought from January to June ($4.0 billion); and severe weather in Europe in June ($3.5 billion).

In total, the first half 2014 comprised seven separate billion-dollar insured loss events, with four occurring in the U.S., two in Europe, and one in Asia.

Looking ahead to the second half of 2014, Bowen said the third quarter historically is the costliest for natural disasters and is primarily driven by the peak of the Atlantic Hurricane Season.

“While the pending El Nino is likely to limit the overall number of storms in the basin, it would only take one major landfalling event to quickly make 2014 an above average year for losses – and history suggests that it is just a matter of time before the U.S. endures another major hurricane,” Bowen said.

Source: Aon Benfield’s Impact Forecasting