Aon Benfield see Sandy insured losses at $28.2 billion

Natural disasters in the United States accounted for nearly 90 percent of global insured losses in 2012, with superstorm Sandy topping the bill with an estimated $28.2 billion in insured losses, reinsurance broker Aon Benfield said on Thursday.

Sandy's insurance cost combines the bill from private insurers and the government-backed National Flood Insurance Program from the storm, which slammed the east coast in October 2012, and is ranked as the second-worst disaster in U.S. history.

The NFIP said it expects losses from Sandy to reach between $6 billion - $12 billion, and has and requested a congressional bailout of its flood insurance operations.

To see some of the biggest initial Sandy-related loss estimates reported by insurers so far.

Aon Benfield, a unit of Aon PLC and the world's largest reinsurance broker, said insured and economic losses from worldwide natural catastrophes have increased substantially over the last 33 years, with economic losses trending up by 7.8 percent and insured losses by 11.3 percent annually since 1980.

Increased human population and increased insurance penetration and growth in the more exposed areas of the globe contributed to the increase, Aon Benfield said in its Annual Global Climate and Catastrophe Report.

Last year saw 295 separate natural disaster events, above the ten year average of 257, with the United States coming second to Asia in experiencing the most catastrophes.

The U.S. accounted for 67 percent of insured losses globally due to the high insurance take-up in the country, Aon Benfield said.

Global natural disasters in 2012 caused $72 billion in insured losses, 36 percent above the ten year average of $53 billion, Aon Benfield said.

(Editing by Keiron Henderson)