* H1 death toll 2,700, below year-earlier level of 9,100
* H1 economic losses $42 bln, insured losses $17 bln
* Snow storms in Japan most costly for insurers
* Munich Re says El Nino may lead to El Nina hurricanes
(Recasts, adds death toll, executive comment, outlook)
FRANKFURT, July 9 Floods, storms and other
natural disasters claimed more than 2,700 lives and caused
around $42 billion in damage worldwide in the first half of
2014, but this was well below the first half of last year and a
10-year average, reinsurer Munich Re said on
The world's biggest reinsurer said landslides and flash
floods in Afghanistan were the deadliest disasters, claiming
more than 650 lives, while snow storms in Japan were the
costliest, with insured losses of more than $2.5 billion.
Storm "Ela", which hit parts of western Europe in early
June, is expected to cost insurers about 1.8 billion euros ($2.5
billion), Munich Re said. In Germany alone, insured losses from
the storm came to 650 million euros.
But the $42 billion bill in the first half and the $17
billion in claims paid by insurers were below the average of the
last 10 years of $95 billion and $25 billion, respectively,
Munich Re said in its six-monthly review of natural disasters.
The number of deaths worldwide fell to a fraction of the
53,000 seen on average over the last 10 years and the 9,100
recorded in the first half of 2013.
"Of course, it is good news that natural catastrophes have
been relatively mild so far," Torsten Jeworrek, Munich Re's
board member responsible for the global reinsurance business,
said in a statement.
"But we should not forget that there has been no change in
the overall risk situation."
Munich Re's assessment echoed other warnings that it
currently looked as though El Nino - a warming of sea
temperatures in the Pacific Ocean - would develop in the autumn.
El Nino affects wind patterns and can trigger both floods
and drought in different parts of the globe, hitting crops and
food supply. Munich Re said a strong El Nino would make it more
likely that there will be La Nina system in the following year,
which tends to cause an increase in hurricane activity.
Reinsurers such as Munich Re and rival Swiss Re
help insurance companies to cover the cost of heavy damage
claims from disasters such as floods, hurricanes or earthquakes
in exchange for part of the premiums the insurers charge their
Munich Re is expected to say what its own share of losses
was in the first half when it publishes financial results on
(Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Kirsti Knolle and Jane