Camp Fire tops 2018 list of costliest disasters in the world

Michael Finch II, The Sacramento Bee on

Published in Business News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Damage from the Camp Fire was the costliest disaster in the world last year, topping out at $12.5 billion in insured losses, according to a new report by global reinsurance firm Munich RE.

The Germany-based company said it had expected losses to be lower this year after a record-breaking 2017, in which insurers paid out about $230 billion worldwide. But a number of hurricanes, typhoons and wildfires ruined the outlook.

Last year was the fourth-costliest for insurance companies since 1980, the firm said. Three large wildfires -- Carr, Camp and Woolsey -- burned regions of California last year and were a major factor in the overall losses incurred by insurers.

The three events collectively accounted for some $24 billion in losses. That was only a fraction of the $160 billion in losses amassed globally. The Camp Fire, however, was also the deadliest blaze in state history, claiming 86 lives in and around the town of Paradise.

Wildfires have been altering the insurance market for some consumers in California. As blazes become more potent and common, some insurance companies are pulling out of risky areas.

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