One of the world’s biggest reinsurance companies Munich RE released a report today revealing that losses from natural disasters in 2023 reached $250 billion and resulted in more than 74,000 fatalities.

Commenting on worldwide natural disasters, Munich RE Chief Climate Scientist Ernst Rauch highlighted that 2023 is distinguished by the fact that the world saw record temperatures and that large and severe regional storms accounted for a great portion of global losses.

Thunderstorms in North America and Europe were more destructive than ever and overall losses hit $76 billion, with $58billion of that amount being insured. In the European context, thunderstorms caused damages of $10 billion, of which $8 billion was insured.

Scientific research shows that climate change is fueling severe weather through heavy hailstorms and storms in general, said Munich RE. “The warming of the earth that has been accelerating for some years is intensifying the extreme weather in many regions, leading to increasing loss potentials. More water evaporates at higher temperatures, and additional moisture in the atmosphere provides further energy for severe storms. Society and industry need to adapt to the changing risks – otherwise loss burdens will inevitably increase,” said Rauch.

As has been widely reported, Munich RE also noted that the earthquake in Turkey and Syria was the biggest humanitarian natural disaster in 2023 resulting in 58,000 deaths. “In terms of natural disasters, 2023 was the deadliest year since 2010,” according to Munich Re Chief Climate Scientist Ernst Rauch.

Losses from natural disasters in Europe were $83 billion (77 billion euro), mostly due to the earthquake in Turkey. But several storms were notable, particularly one in northern Italy that caused hailstones of 19 cm in diameter in July and August. The other storm noted by Munich RE was Medicane Daniel that caused severe flooding in Greece.

Also notable was the fact that there was a large insurance gap noted in relation to losses along the Adriatic coast and in Greece, and that the events cost $17 billion but only $2 billion was insured.