Once again I turned up an older report that is worth highlighting. The report titled Financing Recovery From Catastrophic Events, was issued by the Homeland Security Institute in 2007. Although it is slightly dated — Superstorm Sandy and the pending recovery strategies and plans would make a useful addition — it provides an interesting and unique history of some major/catastrophic disasters in the U.S. and elsewhere with particular attention to funding mechanisms for the recovery phase. Of special interest are the 4 types of funding support noted in the report: (1) government (2) insurance, (3) charity, and (4) litigation. [See a similar CRS Report from 2008.]
Most of the historic examples, such as the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and the 1927 Great Mississippi Flood, were also described and analyzed in the book Emergency Management; The American Experience, 1900-2010, although although that book deals primarily with the response phase. I think that reading both books would provide a more comprehensive view of the history of major disasters than has been possible to date.