Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Insured losses from disasters rose 42 percent to $54 billion last year, according to Swiss Re. That’s the highest since 2012 and the equivalent of 0.07 percent of global gross domestic product.

Floods in Europe, the U.S. and China, earthquakes in New Zealand, Ecuador, Japan, wildfires in Canada, and hailstorms in the U.S. caused the most severe economic damages, the Zurich-based insurer said in its Sigma study on Tuesday. Weather-related catastrophes consistently cause the highest amount of annual insured losses worldwide.

Six in 10 catastrophes last year were caused by nature, accounting for almost 95 percent of economic disaster losses. The number of natural catastrophes have topped man-made ones for the past seven years.

Economic losses totaled $175 billion, with less than a third insured, Swiss Re said. That leaves a so-called insurance protection gap of about $121 billion -- the widest since 2011.

Hurricane Matthew and the earthquake in Ecuador claimed most of the 11,000 lives lost in 2016 due to catastrophes. It is one of the lowest figures recorded in a single year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mara Bernath in Zurich at mbernath1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Mariajose Vera at mvera1@bloomberg.net, Zoe Schneeweiss, Dylan Griffiths

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