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  • Natural catastrophes and man-made disasters in 2018: “secondary” perils on the frontline
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Natural catastrophes and man-made disasters in 2018: “secondary” perils on the frontline

Source(s):  Swiss Reinsurance Company (Swiss Re)

This report provides an overview of the losses and damages caused by natural catastrophes and man-made disasters in 2018.

Total economic losses from natural catastrophes and man-made disasters were USD 165 billion. Insurance covered USD 85 billion, the fourth highest one-year aggregate industry payout ever. Man-made disaster-related insurance claims were close to USD 9 billion, up from USD 7 billion in 2017. The combined insurance losses from natural catastrophes in 2017 and 2018 were USD 219 billion, the highest-ever for a two-year period. For natural catastrophes, more than half of losses and the largest insured losses were due to "secondary" perils.

Secondary perils come in two forms:

  • independent, high-frequency (i.e., more frequent than primary peril events like earthquakes and hurricanes), low-to-medium severity loss events; and
  • events that occur as secondary effects of primary perils (e.g., a tsunami after an earthquake).

Losses from secondary perils have been rising due to rapid development in areas exposed to severe weather and warmer temperatures. It is a trend expected to continue given ongoing urbanisation in areas exposed to flood and fire risk, among others, and because of climate change.



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  • Natural catastrophes and man-made disasters in 2018: “secondary” perils on the frontline
  • Publication date 2019
  • Author(s) Bevere, Lucia et al.
  • Number of pages 30 p.

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