Swiss Re totaling up the damage from 2008 said yesterday it was one of the worst years for catastrophe losses with more than 240,500 lost lives and $52.5 billion paid in property claims, and worldwide impact on the economy from natural and man-made catastrophes was $269 billion.

According to the firm the year was exceptional in terms of fatalities and losses. And the reinsurer noted statistics confirming a trend toward an increase in the number and costs of natural catastrophes and man-made disasters.

Swiss Re’s latest sigma study, “Natural catastrophes and man-made disasters in 2008,” said there were 137 natural catastrophes and 174 man-made disasters which occurred in 2008.

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