July 7, 2010 / 1:30 PM / 10 years ago

Munich Re says H1 catastrophe costs above 10-yr avg

FRANKFURT, July 7 (Reuters) - The total costs associated with natural catastrophes in the first half of 2010 were $70 billion, more than the average over the past 10 years and more than for the whole of 2009, according to Munich Re (MUVGn.DE). The world’s biggest reinsurer by revenue said on Wednesday that losses jumped due to three major earthquakes — in Haiti in January, in Chile in February and in China in April.

Insured losses, those losses which insurers and reinsurers will have to cover, were $22 billion, more than double the first-half average since 2000.

In terms of insured losses, the Chilean earthquake was the most expensive individual event in the first half of 2010, with insured losses of $8 billion and an overall cost of $30 billion.

In terms of human life, the Haitian earthquake was one of the deadliest on record, killing 223,000 people. Due to low insurance penetration, insured losses related to the earthquake were only $150 million.

Munich Re said it expects the long-term trend of increasingly frequent weather extremes and ensuing natural catastrophes to continue, which will result in greater and greater losses.

The company competes with Swiss Re RUKN.VX and Hannover Re (HNRGn.DE) of Germany. (Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by David Cowell)

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