Costly Year For Insurance

March 9, 2000

Nearly $29B In Payouts Makes 1999 Second-Worst Year

Last year was the second-most-costliest for insurance companies around the world, as commercial buildings and houses took a battering.

Worldwide disasters added up to $100 billion and cost companies $28.6 billion, the most since the $33 billion reported in 1992, the Swiss Reinsurance Co. told the Associated Press recently.

The costs mounted despite the fact that many Third World countries had little or no insurance. Aside from the financial toll, 105,000 lives were lost.

In Western Europe, Christmas storms cost $6.7 billion, Typhoon Bart in September in Japan cost about $3 billion. In the eastern United States, Hurricane Floyd cost $2.36 billion, and a Ford Motor Co. plant explosion in Dearborn, Mich. cost $650 million.

Insurance costs have steadily increased since 1970, as insurance has become more commonplace in risky areas and the world's p