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2011:天灾之年

Colin Barr 2011年07月15日

今年是名副其实灾难之年——与华尔街和布鲁塞尔那帮有识之士引起的金融人祸无关

    慕尼黑再保险公司(Munich Re)本周二发表上半年业绩评论时提出,尽管时间刚刚过半,今年已经成为有记录以来自然灾害损失最高的年份。2011年前6个月损失金额达2,650亿美元——已然超过2005年这一前天灾之年全年2,200亿美元的记录。

    Halfway through, this year is already the costliest on record for natural catastrophes, insurer Munich Re said Tuesday in its first-half review. Losses hit $265 billion in the first six months of 2011 – which exceeds the $220 billion in losses in the biggest previous year for natural disasters, 2005.

不幸的是,类似事件还会发生

    其中,日本3月份的地震及海啸造成了15,000人死亡,经济损失高达2,100亿美元,成为了今年灾害损失来源的罪魁祸首。这场灾难比2005年“卡特里娜”飓风(Katrina)造成的1,250亿美元的经济损失更为惨重,同时创造了历史新高。

    日本地震引起的损失同样导致了保险业利润的欠收。慕尼黑再保险公司(Munich Re)称,今年上半年保损飙升至600亿美元——这一数字是过去10年年均保损的5倍。

    4月,伯克希尔•哈撒韦公司(Berkshire Hathaway,BRKA)表示,鉴于日本震灾及其他灾害(主要发生在亚洲),公司今年将发表保险承保亏损报告。这是该公司近10年来第一次发表类似报告。该公司去年还曾重金押注过慕尼黑再保险公司。

    尽管如此,日本震灾(对保险业)造成的损失还是要低于卡特里娜飓风。慕尼黑再保险公司说,3月震灾引起的保险索赔达300亿美元,相比而言,官方统计卡特里娜飓风所引发的索赔高达440亿美元。另外,10年前由世贸中心遭恐怖袭击造成的索赔估计也在400亿美元上下。

    问题是现在根本无法预计今年的灾损将严重到什么程度。慕尼黑再保险公司说,通常“前半年的灾损要比后半年的低,因为后半年将是北大西洋和西北太平洋飓风和台风频发的时段”。看来接下来的几个月注定是多事之秋,而且还是多灾多难。

    Most of the losses this year stem from the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which caused more than 15,000 deaths and accounted for $210 billion in economic losses. That is another record, beating out the $125 billion in losses caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

    Losses tied to the quake have already taken a toll on insurance industry profits. First-half insured losses hit $60 billion, Munich Re said – five times the annual average over the past decade.

    Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA), which last year took a big stake in Munich Re, said in April that it would likely report an insurance underwriting loss this year for the first time in almost a decade, thanks to the Japanese disaster and other calamities, mostly in Asia.

    quake stands to be less costly than Katrina. Munich Re said insured claims from March's disaster stand at around $30 billion, compared with the $44 billion the government estimated for Katrina. Insured losses on the World Trade Center terrorist attacks a decade ago have been estimated at around $40 billion, by comparison.

    The question now is how high this year's record toll might rise. Munich said first-half losses "are generally lower than second-half losses, which are often affected by hurricanes in the North Atlantic and typhoons in the Northwest Pacific." Just another way in which the coming months promise to be eventful, and not in a good way.

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