Munich Re has published some figures on natural catastrophe losses for the first half of 2009, they make for interesting reading.
Insured losses are slightly above average at $11b (the 10 year average being $10b), however the figure for overall economic losses is way down on average at $25b (the 10 year average being $42b). The top insured loss of the first six months of 2009 was European windstorm Klaus which resulted in $2.3b of insured losses.
So, although economic losses were way down on the average, insured losses were high. The reason Munich Re gives is that many of the severe weather events this year have been in regions with high insurance density. That’s very true and demonstrates the extent of losses that can occur from a European windstorm in particular (a good reason to utilise catastrophe bonds in Europe more).