Alternative Energy

Disaster costs jumped over 60% this year to $306 billion

The cost of natural and man-made disasters jumped sharply in 2017 to $306 billion, according to global reinsurance firm Swiss Re.

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, which cut a path of destruction across the Caribbean and the United States this summer, helped push annual damages far beyond the $188 billion posted in 2016.

Harvey caused extensive flooding in Houston, Texas, and Maria plunged Puerto Rico into an extended blackout.

The U.S. was the hardest hit region, with a huge amount of damage caused by the second costliest hurricane season since 2005. The three storms combined to cause almost $93 billion in insured losses, according to Swiss Re.

Kurt Karl, the company’s chief economist, said there has been a surge of residents and new homes in coastal communities since Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma caused devastation in 2005.

“So when a hurricane strikes, the loss potential in some places is now much higher than it was previously.” said Karl.

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