Camp fire was costliest natural disaster in 2018, German insurer Munich Re says

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BERLIN — German insurance company Munich Re says the Northern California wildfire that killed dozens of people and burned down the town of Paradise was the world’s costliest single natural disaster in 2018.

The reinsurance giant said on Tuesday that the November fire caused overall losses of $16.5 billion. The company said some $12.5 billion in losses were insured.

The firestorm destroyed thousands of homes and other structures.

Munich Re said losses from all natural disasters reached $160 billion last year, above the inflation-adjusted average of $140 billion for the last 30 years but below 2017’s hurricane-driven high of $350 billion.

Board member Torsten Jeworrek said increasing wildfires in California appear linked to climate change.

He was quoted saying that “action is urgently needed on building codes and land use to help prevent losses.

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