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11/14/2012 - Natural catastrophe prevalence highest in North America


Hurricane Katrina was the most costly disaster to hit North America since 1980.

While tsunamis and other forms of wild weather in distant parts of the world have garnered a considerable amount of press coverage, no place on earth has received more weather-related natural catastrophes in the past decade than in North America, a recent report has discovered.

According to Munich Re, insured losses - which includes homeowners, auto, renters insurance and other forms of coverage - totaled more than $1 trillion between 1980 and 2011. Of this, more than half of the losses were from U.S.-based storm activity. In the North American continent overall, 30,000 people died due to injuries resulting from the violent forms of weather.

Peter Hoppe, head of Munich Re's geo risks research unit, indicated that the high prevalence of storm activity may be linked to climate change.

"In all likelihood, we have to regard this finding as an initial climate-change footprint in our US loss data from the last four decades," said Hoppe. "If the first effects of climate change are already perceptible, all alerts and measures against it have become even more pressing."

Of the major storms that took place, Munich Re said that the single most costly event was Hurricane Katrina, which led to $62 billion in insured losses and caused 1,322 deaths.

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