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Hurricanes lead to $186 billion blowout: Swiss Re

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The second-costliest Atlantic hurricane season pushed insured losses worldwide to a record $US144 billion ($186 billion) last year, more than double the $US56 billion ($72 billion) total for 2016, according to the latest Swiss Re Sigma report.

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria accounted for a combined $US92 billion ($119 billion) of the losses borne by insurers.

“After 12 years of no major hurricane making US landfall, [last year] is likely to go down as one of the most expensive North Atlantic hurricane seasons in history, in terms of both economic and insured losses,” Head of Catastrophe Perils Martin Bertogg said.

Overall economic losses climbed to $US337 billion ($435 billion) from $US180 billion ($232 billion) in 2016.

Harvey, Irma and Maria and other natural disasters, including California wildfires, caused $US330 billion ($426 billion) of economic losses. About $US7 billion ($9 billion) arose from man-made disasters.

Maria was the biggest insured loss event, with claims of $US32 billion ($41.3 billion), followed by Irma and Harvey with payouts of $US30 billion ($38.7 billion) each.

In Australia, Cyclone Debbie triggered $US1.3 billion ($1.7 billion) of payouts and now ranks as this country’s second-largest insured cyclone event after Tracy in 1974.