Insurance payouts point to climate change

A three-decade trend shows a steady global increase in weather and climate related disasters.

By Janet Raloff, 14:45 PM January 4, 2012

Natural disasters in 2011 exerted the costliest toll in history — a whopping $380 billion worth of losses from earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, tsunamis and more. Only a third of those costs were covered by insurance. And the tally ignores completely any expenses associated with sickness or injuries triggered by the disasters.

The single priciest events last year were the magnitude 9 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which wrought some $210 billion worth of devastation,...

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