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Italian earthquake losses top $6bn, says Aon Benfield

Total economic losses from earthquakes and aftershocks that hit northern Italy last month caused economic losses worth an estimated $6bn, Aon Benfield said yesterday.


08 JUN 2012 | THE ACTUARY NEWSDESK: NICK MANN

The latest edition of the reinsurer’s monthly Global Catastrophe Report said earthquakes resulted in the largest natural disaster loss for Italy since the L’Aquila earthquake in 2009.

Over a nine-day period last month, the tremors left 24 people dead, more than 400 injured and caused extensive damage to cultural heritage sites throughout Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region. Damage was also caused to businesses and personal property.

Steve Jakubowki, president of the firm’s Impact Forecasting centre, said: ‘The seismic activity was not unexpected, as Italy has long been recognised as a region exposed to the possibility of significant earthquake activity.

‘Given the level of insurance coverage in the region, it is anticipated that insured losses would reach minimally into the hundreds of millions of dollars. However, it remains too early to determine how negligible reinsurance losses may be from this event.’

In Asia, severe and prolonged periods of rain hit China throughout the month, killing at least 102 people. Total economic losses of $2.68bn are estimated from the rain, which damaged or destroyed at least 143,000 homes and affected 2.34 million acres of cropland.

Eastern Japan was struck by powerful thunderstorms, resulting in high winds and tornadoes that killed at least three people, injured 59 others and damaged more than 1,845 buildings.

Meanwhile, in the US widespread hail and wind damage from the Dakotas to Maryland resulted in an estimated economic loss of $275m and 30,000 insurace claims valued at $150m.

A secondary severe weather outbreak across the central and eastern US at the end of May also created significant damage, with insured losses in Oklahoma alone estimated at $400m.

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