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Though there were only 750 loss-producing events in 2008 compared with 960 in 2007, it was still the third most expensive year for insurers on record, according to Munich Re. The costs are attributed to a large number of tropical cyclones and the earthquake in Sichuan, China.

o 2008 insured losses were 50 percent higher than 2007 at $45 billion. Overall losses rose to $200 billion from $85 billion in 2007.

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