News / Science & Technology

    Insurer: 2015 Saw Lowest Natural Disaster Losses in 6 Years

    FILE - In this April 27, 2015 file photo a Nepalese family collects belongings from their home destroyed in Saturday's earthquake, in Bhaktapur on the outskirts of Kathmandu, Nepal. Last year saw the lowest financial costs from natural disasters worldwide since 2009 as the El Nino weather phenomenon reduced hurricane activity in the North Atlantic, a leading insurer said, Jan. 4, 2016.
    FILE - In this April 27, 2015 file photo a Nepalese family collects belongings from their home destroyed in Saturday's earthquake, in Bhaktapur on the outskirts of Kathmandu, Nepal. Last year saw the lowest financial costs from natural disasters worldwide since 2009 as the El Nino weather phenomenon reduced hurricane activity in the North Atlantic, a leading insurer said, Jan. 4, 2016.
    Associated Press

    Last year saw the lowest financial costs from natural disasters worldwide since 2009 as the El Nino weather phenomenon reduced hurricane activity in the North Atlantic, a leading insurer said Monday.

    The year's most devastating disaster was the earthquake in Nepal in April, but only a fraction of the resulting losses was insured.

    Insurer Munich Re said in an annual survey that both insured losses and overall costs resulting from disasters were the lowest since 2009. It said that there were some $27 billion in insured losses, while overall costs — including losses not covered by insurance — totaled $90 billion. Those figures were down from $31 billion and $110 billion respectively in 2014.

    The costliest single event for the insurance industry was a series of winter storms that hit the northeastern U.S. and Canada in February. They generated insured losses of $2.1 billion and total losses of $2.8 billion.

    In contrast, the earthquake in Nepal caused total damage valued at $4.8 billion, but only $210 million of that was insured. That underlined the fact that, in developing countries, the level of insurance coverage remains very low.
    In several other years, hurricanes hitting North America in particular have caused significant costs to the insurance industry.

    However, "in terms of financial losses, we were somewhat fortunate in 2015: strong tropical cyclones frequently only hit sparsely populated areas or did not make landfall at all," said Peter Hoeppe, the head of Munich Re's risk research unit. "In the North Atlantic, El Nino helped to curtail the development of heavy storms."

    El Nino is caused by the warming of waters in the Pacific Ocean that causes changes in rainfall patterns. Hoeppe cautioned that scientists believe the phenomenon may be followed by its twin sister, La Nina, which would encourage the formation of North Atlantic hurricanes.

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora