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Record number of billion dollar weather disasters in U.S. during 2011


2011 has been a year of major losses for re/insurers around the world and at home. This year has seen the highest number of billion dollar weather disasters in U.S. history although that hasn’t equated to the largest U.S. losses on record. Billion dollar weather disaster incidence does seem to be on the rise with 12 separate billion dollar weather/climate disasters during 2011 with an aggregate total damage of $52 billion according to data from the NOAA.

The previous record year was 2008 which saw 9 separate billion dollar weather disasters. The 12 disasters this year have caused the loss of 646 lives.

The graph below shows the number of billion dollar weather disasters by year along with the total dollar amount lost as a result of the disasters.

Billion dollar weather/climate disasters 1980 - November 2011

Billion dollar weather/climate disasters 1980 - November 2011

There are two more events which could bring the total to 14 once the extent of losses are better understood. The pre-Halloween winter storm that impacted the U.S. northeast and Tropical Storm Lee. Currently the NOAA believes these aren’t quite billion dollar disasters although the Weather Undergrounds Jeff Masters does.

You can see a list of the billion dollar events from NOAA’s data here.

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