Insured losses stemming from natural catastrophes in the first half of 2018 were down a third compared to the first six months of 2017, according to Munich Re.

Munich Re nat cats

The reinsurer estimated that in the first half of this year there was $17bn in insured losses globally compared to $25.5mn in the same period the year before.

Economic losses so far this year stand at $33bn, just under half of the $65bn Munich Re estimate occurred in the same period of 2017.

Insured losses resulting from natural disasters in the first six months of 2018 came in just below the 30-year average of $17.5bn, Munich Re said in the report.

The reinsurance powerhouse said the majority of the $17bn bill that will be picked up by insurers stems from losses in the US.

The reinsurer pointed to severe thunderstorms, which led to convective storms and flash flooding, as the root cause of most of these claims.

The first six months of 2018 marks the eighth time in the space of ten years that insured losses from thunderstorms in the states have exceeded the $10bn mark, with thunderstorm losses also the third highest ever in the US for the period from January to June.

Munich Re said the relatively benign six-moth loss period comes on the back of the extremely high losses from natural catastrophes in 2017, which chiefly stemmed from hurricanes in the second part of the year.

“Following a period of extreme disasters with record losses, it is nice to be able to record a phase with low losses.” Munich Re board member Torsten Jeworrek said.

“Of course, looking at a short timespan may distort the true picture,” he added.

“The most important thing is to understand the long-term developments.”

“That is why we must continue to make every effort to understand the background to natural disasters and provide safeguards against them in the form of intelligent prevention measures.”

“This is borne out by statistics on flooding losses in Europe, which have generally decreased thanks to investment in flood protection and control.”