The Frequency of Costly Weather Disasters Is Increasing
2021 was among the busiest years for climate disasters in the United States. According to analysis of NOAA/NCEI data by Climate Central, there have been 18 weather/climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each as of October 8, 2021 — well above the average of seven events per year.
The change in frequency between events has dropped from 82 days in the 1980s to just 18 days, on average, in the last five years (2016-2020). For 2020, NOAA tracked 22 events that cost the nation a combined $95 billion in damages. Of the billion-dollar events, a record seven were linked to tropical cyclones, 13 to severe storms, one to drought, and one to wildfires.
This finding, attributed to climate change, reflects a global trend of more people living within floodplains and on land prone to wildfires. Faced with rising uncertainty, those seeking protection against these risks are increasingly turning toward non-traditional insurance schemes, including reinsurance and captive insurance.