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Australian floods top first-half insured loss chart

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The February/March flood disaster in NSW and Queensland has run up insured losses of about $US3.7 billion ($5.3 billion), making it the insurance industry’s most costly natural catastrophe in the first six months of the year, according to Munich Re.

In terms of overall losses, the NSW/Queensland event ranked second, on $US5.9 billion ($8.4 billion), behind the magnitude 7.3 quake on Japan’s main Honshu island, which topped the table at $US8.8 billion ($12.6 billion).

The Australian floods and other weather-related events, including a series of winter storms in Europe and thunderstorms in the US, contributed to overall losses of $US65 billion ($93 billion), of which $US34 billion ($48 billion) was insured, Munich Re says in its first-half natural disaster review.

In the corresponding half of last year, natural catastrophes led to overall losses of $US105 billion ($150 billion) and insured losses of $US47 billion ($67 billion).

“The natural disaster picture for the first half of 2022 is dominated by weather-related catastrophes,” Member of the Board of Management Torsten Jeworrek said.

“Extreme tornadoes in the US caused billions in damage, parts of eastern coastal Australia were submerged by floods.”

Munich Re says parts of Queensland and NSW saw record rainfall and flooding, with the last week in February being the wettest since 1900 and some areas recording their highest flood peaks since 1893.

The Asia Pacific region accounted for $US22 billion ($31 billion) of overall natural disaster losses, just behind the US, which accounted for almost half of the overall economic damage, at $US28 billion ($40 billion).