A bit of unexpected news: The cost of global disasters went down in 2012, not up.
That's according to re-insurer Swiss Re -- an insurance company that insures insurers. (It's insurance all the way down.) And you can put faith in the numbers Swiss Re came up with; few industries have as much at risk as the insurance industry.
From The Huffington Post:
According to a report released Wednesday by reinsurer Swiss Re, total economic losses from disasters -- naturally occurring or otherwise -- is estimated to be at least $140 billion. …
Even with the costs of Sandy, the second-most expensive storm in U.S. history after Hurricane Katrina, the total financial loss from disasters this year did not near 2011's total of $380 billion -- the highest in history -- or 2010's $218 billion.
The cost of disasters in 2011 may have been bolstered by the substantial losses associated with the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. This year, the top five most expensive disasters all occurred in the U.S.
Swiss Re notes in its report that 2012 was a particularly expensive year for American disasters.
2012 is dominated by large, weather-related losses in the US. Moreover, the top five insured loss events are all in the US. Hurricane Sandy is the largest Atlantic hurricane on record in terms of wind span. This record storm surge caused widespread flooding and damage to a densely populated area on the East Coast of the US. It also led to the worst power outage caused by a natural catastrophe in the history of the US. …
In addition, extremely dry weather conditions and limited snowfall in the US led to one of the worst droughts in recent decades, affecting more than half of the country. Drought-related agricultural losses are likely to reach approximately USD 11 billion, including pay-outs from federal assistance programs.