Economic growth blamed for increase

The average annual cost of claims arising from natural catastrophes has increased eight-fold since 1970.

According to an Allianz report, claims in 2010 were more than $40bn compared to appromiately $5bn during the 1970s.

The sharp increase is due to economic growth driven by rising property values, population density and increasing insurance penetration.

Allianz analysts also noted that, during the past decade, the earthquakes which caused the highest fatalities were not necessarily the strongest ones.

Proper risk management before an event and preparation for a possible natural disaster were identified as key factors in reducing the economic impact.