Record €281bn bill for floods and quakes

NATURAL disasters in 2011, including the earthquake in Japan and floods in Australia, cost the global economy a record $370bn (€281bn).

Losses for the insurance industry were the second largest ever, insurance group Swiss Re said.

Japan's earthquake, which caused over 19,000 deaths, accounted for more than half of 2011's economic loss and was the most expensive earthquake on record at $35bn (€26.2bn). Had Japan been insured, 2011 would certainly have been "the most expensive year ever also in terms of insured losses," said Lucia Bevere, co-author of the study.

Despite the record figures, the hit to the industry fell short of the $123bn (€92.2bn) bill for Hurricane Katrina in 2005.