Climate change, damage amounting to $200 billion a year: the Philippines and the USA are the countries most at risk, Italy the most affected in the EU

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Floods, tropical cyclones, thunderstorms and storms cause 200 billion dollars in losses worldwide every year. With the Philippines and the United States at the top of the list of countries most at risk. This is what emerges from a report by the reinsurer Swiss Re which elaborates the conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and draws up a ranking of 36 countries identifying the most vulnerable ones. The figure of 200 billion dollars, however, is destined to grow in the future.

The most vulnerable areas

As for the areas potentially most at risk, the Philippines is at the top of the ranking, with damages that each year account for 3% of the GDP (a total of 12 billion dollars in 2022), while the United States is second in relation to the GDP (with an annual loss of 0.4%), but first in absolute terms (with 97 billion in damages).

Italy most affected in Europe

Due to these meteorological phenomena linked to climate change, between 2013 and 2022 Italy suffered damages amounting to 37 billion dollars, of which only 5 were insured and this means a “protection gap”, an absence of protection equal to 87% of cases. In the ranking of losses in relation to GDP, the country is seventeenth, with an estimated loss of 0.11% (2.3 billion dollars). In 2023, in particular, Italy was the European country most affected by thunderstorms and storms – as demonstrated by the floods in Emilia-Romagna and the hail in Northern Italy – with insured losses of over 3 billion dollars, the highest ever recorded in the Peninsula.

Flood in Emilia Romagna, Figliuolo: “We have planned the reconstruction in 5 operational lines”

The prospects

As for the future, the Swiss reinsurer’s report predicts that the risk of floods will intensify globally. In the United States and East and Southeast Asia, the event with the greatest economic impact will be tropical cyclones. In general, countries with significant gaps in insurance protection, and where the adoption of loss mitigation and adaptation measures lag behind the rate of economic growth, are the most exposed to the financial risk of risk intensification.

Bad weather, more flooding, landslides and inconveniences

Photogallery14 photos


According to the report, fast-growing Asian economies such as Thailand, China, India and the Philippines are the most vulnerable. «Climate change produces increasingly severe meteorological events, with a growing impact on economies and therefore it becomes even more crucial to adopt countermeasures», commented Jérôme Jean Haegeli, Group Chief Economist of Swiss Re. «Reducing risk by adapting to the new scenario, by preventively reducing risks, it encourages insurability. The insurance sector can play an important role by catalyzing investment and can do so both directly, as a long-term investor, and indirectly, by underwriting projects that make companies more protected. The more carefully the dangers associated with climate change are assessed, the greater the chance that the necessary investments will be made,” he concluded.

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