Sandy Tops 2012 Insurance Claims

Munich Re estimated insured losses from Sandy at $25 billion and total losses at $50 billion

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    Robert Connolly, left, embraces his wife, Laura, as their son Kyle leans over, at right, as they survey the remains of the home owned by Laura's parents that burned to the ground in the Breezy Point section of New York, following Sandy.

    Natural disasters cost insurers $65 billion last year, with the United States accounting for nine-tenths of the bill and Sandy prompting payouts of $25 billion, a leading insurance company said Thursday.

    However, Munich Re AG said that the total insured losses worldwide were down from a record $119 billion in 2011, when devastating earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand cost the industry dear.

    The company said total economic costs in 2012 from natural disasters worldwide — including uninsured losses — amounted to $160 billion, compared with the previous year's $400 billion.

    Sandy, which battered eastern coastline areas at the end of October, killed at least 125 people in the United States and 71 people in the Caribbean. New York, New Jersey and Connecticut were the hardest-hit U.S. states.

    Munich Re estimated insured losses from Sandy at $25 billion and total losses at $50 billion, though it cautioned that the figures are "still subject to considerable uncertainty." That made it the year's most costly disaster.

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