January 4, 2018 / 10:04 AM / 9 months ago

CORRECTED-Insured losses in 2017 most ever at $135 billion after hurricanes

(Corrects figure in second paragraph to $330 billion, not million)

FRANKFURT/MUNICH, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Insurers will have to pay claims of around $135 billion for 2017, the most ever, following a spate of hurricanes, earthquakes and fires in North America, according to a closely watched report published on Thursday.

The German reinsurer Munich Re, in its annual natural catastrophe review, also said that last year's total losses, including those not insured, were $330 billion, the second-worst in history after 2011 when an earthquake and tsunami wreaked havoc in Japan.

Although individual events could not be linked directly to climate change, global warming is playing a role. Munich Re said it expected more frequent extreme events in the future.

"We have a new normal," said Ernst Rauch, head of Munich Re's Corporate Climate Centre, which monitors climate change risks.

"2017 was not an outlier," he said, noting that insured losses surpassed $100 billion multiple times since 2005. "We must have on our radar the trend of new magnitudes." (Reporting by Tom Sims and Alexander Huebner; Editing by Maria Sheahan)

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