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Global Disasters Created $350 Billion in Damages

Floods, earthquakes and other disasters created major damage worldwide.

In 2011 alone, natural disasters had global consequences and created $350 billion in damages. As The Wall Street Journal reports, the majority of it was not covered by insurance, underscoring the need for businesses with multinational dealings to make sure they take out sufficient polices to protect their assets and operations.

The newspaper cites a report from reinsurance company Swiss RE that found insurance companies will only have to pay for $108 billion of the losses, and would have had to pay a greater amount if more people in Japan had taken out polices on earthquakes and tsunamis.

Economist Robert Hartwig, who is also president of the Insurance Information Institute, told the newspaper that the costs created by all the catastrophes this year would equate to 0.5 percent of the global economy.

As Fox Business reports, the total amount of losses could climb even higher, as claims continue pouring in after the Thailand floods and Europe predicts heavy winter storms.

"On top of people losing their loved ones, societies are faced with enormous financial losses that have to be borne by either corporations, relief organizations or governments and, ultimately, taxpayers," said Kurt Karl, Swiss Re's chief economist, as quoted by the news source.