Risk Management Solutions recently published a paper analysing the 1908 Tunguska asteroid event which hit Central Siberia in Russia and looking at scenarios to determine what might happen should a similar event occur today. If a similar event happened above Manhattan today it could cause over a trillion dollars in property losses and around 3.2m deaths.
The Tunguska event wasn’t even a direct hit on the surface of the earth, rather it exploded 6 miles or so up in the atmosphere. This flattened 700 miles or more square.
The thought of such an event occuring again now is not a nice one. No matter where on the earth it occurred it would have a devastating impact, cause huge loss of life and cause much property damage. Could the reinsurance industry survive such an event? Would they even cover it? Some interesting reading for a Thursday morning, see the full paper here (in PDF format).