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International CAT event losses totaled $16.7 billion in 2023

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International CAT event losses totaled $16.7 billion in 2023

According to CRESTA, the largest international loss event was a sequence of earthquakes that hit Turkey in February.

In 2023, seven international catastrophe events each caused over $1 billion in losses, as reported by the CRESTA Industry Loss Index (CLIX). These events totaled $16.7 billion in damages, slightly below the 23-year average of $17.1 billion for similar events.

The most significant of these was the Kahramanmaras Earthquake Sequence in Turkey, occurring in February 2023. It resulted in a record-breaking $5.8 billion loss for the Turkish insurance sector. Other notable disasters with over $1 billion in losses include:

  • North Island Floods in New Zealand, January 2023
  • Cyclone Gabrielle in New Zealand, February 2023
  • Severe storms in Northern Italy, July 2023
  • Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Floods in China, from July to August 2023, caused by Typhoon Doksuri
  • Hurricane Otis in Mexico, October 2023
  • European Windstorm Ciarán, November 2023

CLIX also mentioned that two additional events might be added to this list pending further investigation. These are severe storms in Germany in June and in Australia in December.

Matthias Saenger, a manager at CRESTA CLIX, released a statement regarding these findings:  “While from a global perspective, international Cat losses in 2023 were slightly below the long-term average, several countries experienced record-breaking events, namely Turkey, Italy, New Zealand and Mexico. This situation effectively illustrates the value proposition of global reinsurance: extraordinary or even record-breaking Cat losses on a national market level can represent quite “normal” loss levels in a globally diversified reinsurance portfolio. This scenario was the case in 2023 and explains why this year’s Cat losses were managed so robustly.”

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