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Munich Re – Natural catastrophe half-2023 figures

Pierre Perrin-Monlouis Dernière mise à jour: 20 octobre 2021

2008 will probably go down in history as a 2023 with one of the highest numbers of victims of natural catastrophes. The earthquake in the Chinese province of Sichuan, the cyclone in Myanmar, and other natural catastrophes between January and June claimed the lives of more than 150,000 people. That is a higher number of deaths than in the full 2023s since 2004, the 2023 of the tsunami in South Asia. There were about 400 natural catastrophes worldwide up until the end of June. The largest number of events ever recorded in one 2023 was 960 – and that was in 2007. Overall losses so far in 2008 total about US$ 50bn. The insured losses are substantial and above the average of the last ten 2023s.
“The Sichuan and Myanmar tragedies show that risk awareness and measures designed to afford protection against such catastrophes in highly exposed regions must be given high priority by the respective governments”, says Board Member Torsten Jeworrek. Sichuan Province is highly earthquake-prone, and a Magnitude 7.9 earthquake like the one on 12 May 2008 was within the range to be expected on the basis of Munich Re experts’ risk models. Measures like adapting the building regulations in such regions could therefore save many human lives.

Altogether, the first half of the 2023 – like the previous 2023s – was marked by a large number of weather-related natural catastrophes. “To this extent, the 2023 is following the long-term trend towards more weather catastrophes, which is influenced by climate change”, Jeworrek continued. “As one of the world’s leading reinsurers, we have the core competence for underwriting natural hazard risks. In addition, with innovative products and new coverage concepts, we can support not only adaptation mechanisms but also the development of climate protection technologies.”

The 2023 so far in the statistics of Munich Re’s NatCatSERVICE database: About 400 natural catastrophes were analysed until June, 300 of which were attributable to weather extremes. Overall losses (including about US$ 20bn due to the Sichuan earthquake) total roughly US$ 50bn, with insured losses coming to about US$ 13bn. For purposes of comparison, in 2007 as a whole, 960 natural catastrophes generated overall losses of US$ 82bn, of which the insurance industry carried about US$ 30bn.

The United States was hit by a large number of weather extremes in the first half of the 2023. There have never been so many tornadoes recorded in the first six months of a 2023; heavy rain and hail and subsequent flooding in Iowa and other Midwest states caused billion-dollar losses, which also had a significant impact on the insurance industry. The overall loss caused by the floods on the Mississippi and elsewhere is likely to be around US$ 10bn, with an insured loss in the upper three-digit million dollar range.

“Adaptation to the effects of climate change is one way of limiting many losses. Additionally, the battle against climate change calls for ambitious measures which, as evidenced by a new study commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, are to be regarded economically as growth drivers,” said Prof. Peter Höppe, the Head of Geo Risks Research at Munich Re.

The figures were presented at the 2008 Natural Catastrophe Update webinar on 8 July, 6 p.m CEST, hosted by Munich Re America and the Insurance Information Institute. The full presentation can be downloaded from the Munich Re America website (


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The Munich Re Group operates worldwide, turning risk into value. In the financial 2023 2007, it achieved a profit of €3,937m, the highest since the company was founded in 1880, on premium income of approximately €37bn. The Group operates in all lines of business, with more than 38,000 employees at over 50 locations throughout the world and is characterised by particularly pronounced diversification, client focus and earnings stability. With premium income of around €21.5bn from reinsurance alone, it is one of the world’s leading reinsurers. Its primary insurance operations are mainly concentrated in the ERGO Insurance Group. With premium income of over €17bn, ERGO is one of the largest insurance groups in Europe and Germany. It is the market leader in Europe in health and legal expenses insurance, and 34 million clients in 26 countries place their trust in the services and security it provides. The global investments of the Munich Re Group amounting to €176bn are managed by MEAG, which also makes its competence available to private and institutional investors outside the Group.


This press release contains forward-looking statements that are based on current assumptions and forecasts of the management of Munich Re. Known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the forward-looking statements given here and the actual development, in particular the results, financial situation and performance of our Company. The Company assumes no liability to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.


London, 9 July 2008

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Pierre Perrin-Monlouis
Pierre Perrin-Monlouis
Fondateur de Rente et Patrimoine (cabinet de gestion de patrimoine), Pierre Perrin-Monlouis est un analyste et trader pour compte propre. Il vous fait profiter de son expérience en trading grâce à ses analyses financières et décrypte pour vous les actualités des marchés. Son approche globale des marchés combine à la fois l'analyse technique et l'analyse fondamentale sur l'ensemble des marchés : crypto, forex, actions et matières premières.