The cost of natural disasters this year: $155 billion

Natural disasters cost $155 billion this year, and several of them struck the United States particularly hard. Hurricanes Michael and Florence, the California wildfires and Hawaii’s volcano eruption are all on the list of the most expensive global disasters of 2018, according to the Zurich-based reinsurance company Swiss Re.

“Like last year, the losses from the 2018 series of events highlight the increasing vulnerability of the ever-growing concentration of humans and property values on coastlines and in the urban-wildlife interface,” Swiss Re said of its report. “The very presence of human and property assets in areas such as these means extreme weather conditions can quickly turn into catastrophe events in terms of losses inflicted.”

More than 8,500 wildfires burned nearly 1.9 million acres in California this year, making it the worst fire season on record, according to Cal Fire. The Camp Fire, which ignited in early November and spread unthinkably fast, killed 86 people and destroyed the entire town of Paradise. Insured losses from the Camp Fire alone could top $10 billion.

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