The Costliest Catastrophes of 2012

10. June 11, 2012 U.S. thunderstorms, tornadoes, hail

10. June 11, 2012 U.S. thunderstorms, tornadoes, hail: These events resulted in $950 million in insured losses.

9. June 6, 2012 U.S. thunderstorms, tornadoes, hail

9. June 6, 2012 U.S. thunderstorms, tornadoes, hail : These events resulted in $1.0 billion in insured losses.

8. Hurricane Isaac

8. Hurricane Isaac: The August hurricane resulted in $1.6 billion in insured losses.

7. Italy earthquakes

7. Italy earthquakes : The 5.9 and 5.8 magnitude earthquakes in May resulted in $1.6 billion in insured losses.

6. May 25, 2012 U.S. thunderstorms, tornadoes, hail

6. May 25, 2012 U.S. thunderstorms, tornadoes, hail: The events resulted in $1.7 billion in insured losses.

5. Derecho storm

5. Derecho storm: The July storm resulted in $2.0 billion in insured losses.

4. April 28, 2012 U.S. severe storms, tornadoes

4. April 28, 2012 U.S. severe storms, tornadoes: These events resulted in $2.5 billion in insured losses.

3. March 2, 2012 U.S. severe storms, tornadoes

3. March 2, 2012 U.S. severe storms, tornadoes: These events resulted in $2.5 billion in insured losses.

2. Drought in the Corn Belt

2. Drought in the Corn Belt: The drought that lasted from July to September resulted in $11 billion in insured losses.

1. Hurricane Sandy

1. Hurricane Sandy: The October/November Superstorm resulted in $35 billion in insured losses.

Insured losses from natural catastrophes and man-made disasters amounted to $77 billion last year, making 2012 the third-most costly year on record, according to Swiss Re's latest sigma study. The study notes that insured losses from the events in the following list is a result of the high insurance penetration in North America. Large parts of the globe that are prone to weather extremes were not able to rely on financial relief due to low insurance penetration.

While the insured losses are lower than 2011's total of $126 billion, 2012 did have some historic losses. Record heat and extremely dry weather conditions in the United States led to highest ever recorded loss in agriculture insurance. Also, a rare and relatively weak series of earthquake shocks in the north of Italy caused the highest recorded insured losses in the country’s history.

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