In one of the industry’s most comprehensive analyses, AGCS has identified the top causes of loss for companies from more than in over 200 countries and territories that it has been involved with between 2017 and 2021 (typically a number of insurers provide coverage jointly considering the huge values at stake in the corporate sector). These claims have an approximate value of €88.7bn, which means that the insurance companies involved have paid out – on average – over €48mn every day for five years to cover losses.
The analysis shows that almost 75% of financial losses arise from the top 10 causes of loss, while the top three causes account for close to half (45%) of the value. Despite improvements in risk management and fire prevention, fire/explosion (excluding wildfires) is the largest single identified cause of corporate insurance losses, accounting for 21% of the value of all claims. Fires have resulted in more than €18bn worth of insurance claims over five years, according to the analysis. Even the average claim totals around €1.5mn.
Natural catastrophes (15%) ranks as the second top cause of loss globally by value of claims. Collectively, the top five causes (based on more than 20,000 claims around the world) – hurricanes/tornados (29%); storm (19%); flood (14%); frost/ice/snow (9%) and earthquake/tsunami (6%) account for 77% of the value of all disaster claims. Hurricanes and tornados are the most expensive cause of loss, driven by the fact that two of the past five Atlantic hurricane seasons (2017 and 2021) now rank among the three most active and costliest on record, as well as recent record-breaking tornado activity. Insurers are also seeing new scenarios. During 2021, the ‘Texas Big Freeze’ in the US and flooding in Germany stood out as events that were both large but had unexpected claims. For example, the ‘Texas Big Freeze’ in February caused huge disruption to infrastructure and manufacturing, with many companies forced into shutdowns by widespread power outages, resulting in property damage and in some large contingent business interruption (CBI) losses. This event alone is estimated to have caused economic losses up to $150bn.
Faulty workmanship/maintenance incidents are the third top cause of loss overall (accounting for 9% by value) and are also the second most frequent driver of claims (accounting for 7% by number, ranking only behind damaged goods with 11%). Costly incidents can include collapse of building/structure/subsidence from faulty work, faulty manufacturing of products/components or incorrect design.
The other top 10 causes of loss are: aviation collision/crash (#4; 9%), machinery breakdown (#5; 5%), defective product (#6; 5%), shipping incidents (#7; 3%), damaged goods (#8; 3%), negligence/misadvice (#9; 2%) and water damage (#10; 2%).