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Aon Benfield : Monthly Cat Recap report on the catastrophe that hit Japan

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Aon Benfield today releases the latest edition of its Monthly Cat Recap report, which reviews the natural disaster perils that occurred worldwide during March.

Published by Impact Forecasting, the firm’s catastrophe model development center of excellence, the report highlights that the mega-earthquake and resultant tsunami that struck the northeastern coast of Japan on March 11 has to date claimed more than 12,300 lives and injured nearly 3,000 people. At least 15,000 people officially remain listed as missing.

More than 830 aftershocks followed the main tremor, and at least 203,000 homes and other structures were damaged or destroyed by ground shaking, tsunami waves, fires or liquefaction, according to the National Police Agency of Japan.

The Japanese government estimated total economic losses of JPY16.2 to 25.3 trillion (USD198 to 309 billion), while the World Bank estimated insured losses of JPY1.1 to 2.7 trillion (USD14 to 33 billion).

Tsunami waves from the Japan earthquake crossed the Pacific Ocean and caused a combined USD88.4 million in damage to coastal locations of Hawaii and California in the U.S. Additional tsunami damage to more than 500 homes was recorded in Peru and Chile

Steve Jakubowski, President of Impact Forecasting, said: “Insurers and reinsurers have long regarded Japan as a global peak peril zone for aggregated exposures. Consequently, robust earthquake modeling tools have been developed for the region, but the resultant tsunami added a further dimension to re/insurers’ exposure profiles and loss assessment will be ongoing for the foreseeable future. At least 57 of the 830 aftershocks that followed the main tremor registered above magnitude-6.0 – all sizeable events in their own right. The earthquake was absolutely devastating to the country’s population and infrastructure, and the relief and rebuilding efforts will continue for years to come.”

Meanwhile, in China, a magnitude-5.4 earthquake struck regions in the southwest, killing at least 26 people and injuring 313 others. According to officials from the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the tremor damaged or destroyed at least 68,000 homes in Yingjiang County, and the Chinese government has allocated CNY105 million (USD16 million) for relief and recovery costs.

Myanmar recorded a magnitude-6.8 earthquake that killed at least 75 people. Myanmar’s official state media reported that at least 3,152 homes, 31 religious buildings, nine government buildings and a hospital were destroyed, with total economic losses listed at MMK23.5 million (USD3.6 million).

Elsewhere, the United States was affected by several severe weather events during March, the first of which resulted in 20,000 insurance claims in the Southeast and the Mississippi Valley with payouts exceeding USD120 million. Separate events at the end of the month were expected to cause at least tens of millions of dollars (USD) of further insured losses across the Southeast.

In Asia, flooding in southern Thailand left at least 51 people dead after more than a year’s worth of rain fell over just six days in some isolated locations. At least 580,000 homes were damaged or destroyed and transportation was severely hampered. The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce estimated economic damages to potentially reach THB10billion (USD330 million).

Additional flood events in Brazil, Indonesia and Namibia led to tens of thousands of homes being destroyed and millions of dollars (USD) in total economic damages.

Natural disaster declarations were also made in Australia’s New South Wales after more than 800 homes were damaged by floods.

Source : Aon Benfield Press Release