Deepwater Horizon spill and Xynthia winter storm also feature in Swiss Re’s top eight

Natural and man-made disasters cost the global insurance industry $36bn (£23.1bn) in 2010, up 34% on the $27bn the industry paid out in 2009.

Of the total, $31m came from natural catastrophes, while the remaining $5bn was caused by man-made disasters, figures from Swiss Re reveal.

A total of eight events cost the industry more than $1bn each. The costliest was the earthquake and accompanying tsunami in Chile in February, which resulted in an $8bn insurance bill.

European winter storm Xynthia was in second place, with a bill of $2.85bn, and the third most expensive event was September’s earthquake in New Zealand, which cost $2.68bn.

Swiss Re put the insured property loss from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion at $1bn, but said the figure was still uncertain, and that actual insured losses from Deepwater were higher because its figures do not include liability losses.