In the first half of 2022, the overall losses had been 120 billion, according to the Munich group's estimate.

Insured losses are also down, to $43 billion, from $47 billion last year, according to Munich Re's balance sheet.

But in both cases these losses were "still well above the average of the last ten years," the statement added.

The earthquake in Turkey and Syria killed 58,000 people, bringing the global number of victims of natural disasters in the first half of the year (some 62,000) to its highest level since 2010.

The disaster in Turkey and Syria caused losses of about $40 billion, of which about $35 billion went to Turkey.

In this country, $5 billion in losses were insured, despite the creation of the Turkish Catastrophe Insurance Pool (TCIP).

Adding the severe flooding in northeastern Italy and neighboring countries in May, Europe's death toll rises to nearly $59 billion.

In the United States, severe thunderstorms accompanied by destructive tornadoes and hail boosted losses to more than $35 billion, of which more than $25 billion was insured.

These levels of losses in the United States now seem "normal events, rather than outliers," says the insurer.

"The effects of climate change are having an increasingly strong impact on our lives," with "record temperatures in many parts of the world" since January, said Ernst Rauch, a climatologist at Munich Re.

This translates into "very high water temperatures in various ocean basins, droughts in parts of Europe and severe wildfires in northeastern Canada," he adds.

As in 2016, the natural climate phenomenon El Niño, which originates in the Pacific Ocean and causes global temperatures to rise, plays a role in these disasters in 2023, according to the expert.

© 2023 AFP