2008 Natural Catastrophe Summary: Natural catastrophe losses of more than USD200 billion made 2008 the third most expensive year for catastrophe losses — surpassed only by 2005 (Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma) and 1995 (Kobe earthquake). Last year was also one of the deadliest, with more than 220,000 estimated fatalities from natural catastrophe events.
2008 Nat Cat Event Summary, Part I: A series of severe winter storms hit California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington in January, causing widespread wind and flood property damage. More than 2 million homes and businesses were left without power, and four people were reportedly killed. Torrential rain, hurricane force winds, and heavy snow was reported in much of the region.
2008 Nat Cat Event Summary, Part II: A powerful earthquake struck southwest China on May 12, causing widespread shaking, serious damage, and tens of thousands of fatalities. The magnitude 7.8 earthquake was located approximately 61 miles (98 kilometers) northwest of Chengdu in Sichuan Province, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).
2008 Nat Cat Event Summary, Part III: Heavy rain triggered severe floods across the U.S. Midwest from late May to early June, inundating up to 40,000 homes and businesses. Reports said the flooding was the worst to hit the Midwest for 15 years and caused billions of dollars of damage to crops. Bridges and highways were swamped, factories were forced to shut down and water and power utilities damaged.