Insured losses from natural catastrophes last year were $72 billion worldwide, 36% above the 10-year average but lower than losses posted in 2011, a report from Aon Benfield says. Two-thirds of the insured losses last year were caused by Hurricane Sandy and the drought in the U.S., and the number of global natural disasters increased to 295, the report says. The U.S., however, is experiencing an overall "quiet period" for hurricanes, says Steve Bowen of Aon Benfield's Impact Forecasting.

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