Most of the deaths resulted from Typhoon Haiyan that hit the Philippines, Vietnam and China in November with a loss of almost 6100 lives, the majority of which were in the Philippines.
The second biggest single loss of life was caused by floods in India that killed about 5500 people in June.
German-based Munich Re's annual disasters report found the economic cost of natural catastrophes was lower last year.
Some 880 events cost about £75 billion, with insured losses of £19bn.
This compares with costs of £105bn and insured losses of £40bn in 2012.
The costliest natural disasters to the insurance industry were summer hailstorms in Germany, floods in Central Europe, and storms and tornadoes in the United States.