2014s natural catastrophes could cost global insurers $39bn, down $6bn on 2013, according to an report published today.
The 2014 Annual global climate and catastrophe report issued by Impact Forecasting - the catastrophe model development arm of Aon Benfield - showed that natural catastrophe insurance losses hit a five-year low in 2014 and was 38% below the ten-year average of $63bn.
The report noted that the two costliest insured loss events of the year were both a result of severe thunderstorms, in June (Europe: $3bn) and in May (US: $2.9bn).
Global insured catastrophes accounted for 8.6% of global property premiums in 2014, compared to a ten-year average of 13.9%, Stephen Mildenhall, chief executive of Aon Analytics said.
'The secular increase in catastrophe losses since 1980, which is broadly in-line with global gross domestic product, continues to be an engine of growth for the industry,' he said.
The top three perils - flood, tropical cyclone and severe weather - accounted for 72% of all economic losses during the past 12 months. The deadliest event of 2014 was a multi-month stretch of flash flooding and landslides that killed an estimated 2,600 people in Afghanistan.
Global economic losses from natural catastrophes in the year stood at $132bn.
Steve Bowen, associate director and meteorologist at Impact Forecasting, added: 'Despite 27 individual billion-dollar natural disasters in 2014, overall economic losses were below average for a second consecutive year.
'The most significant losses were found in Asia, where the region sustained 57% of the overall economic loss and each of the top five costliest events. However, the United States incurred 53% of the global insured loss total and accounted for six of the top ten costliest insured losses of the year.'
Meanwhile, 2014 was the warmest year since global land and ocean temperature records began in 1880, the report noted.