Cat costs hit $70bn in 2003

Global economic losses from natural and man-made catastrophes in 2003 came to $70bn (£38bn), accordi...

Global economic losses from natural and man-made catastrophes in 2003 came to $70bn (£38bn), according to the latest Sigma report from Swiss Re.

The largest part of these losses came from the drought that gripped a large part of Europe during the summer of 2003, causing $14bn in losses.

Typhoon Maemi, which struck South Korea and parts of Japan in September, caused another $5.5bn in damages.

Man-made disasters totalled $12bn in losses, more than half of which came from the power blackout that hit North America in August.

A number of billion-dollar catastrophes were experienced in 2003, including the tornadoes that hit the US mid-west in May, the landfall of Hurricane Isabel, the Californian wildfires and the flash floods that hit the south of France.

According to the report, there is increasing evidence of a rise in extreme weather events - and, therefore, in insured catastrophe losses.

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