Insured losses from Japan quake may hit $3B

More than 900 people were injured

Insured losses from the earthquake that hit Japan on April 16 will be between $1.7 billion and $2.9 billion U.S., modeling firm AIR Worldwide predicts.

A 6.2-magnitude foreshock preceded the 7.0-magnitude main shock. In total, at least 58 people were killed, and more than 900 have been injured.

The Japan Fire and Disaster Management Agency estimates more than 4,000 buildings were damaged or destroyed, almost all within the Kumamoto Prefecture on Kyushu Island. The quakes also damages highways, rail lines and bridges, and interrupted many industries’ supply chains and production processes.

Read: Seven million Americans at risk for man-made quakes

The shocks were centered on Kyushu Island, which “lies on the overriding plate above the Philippine subducting plate to the west of the Nankai subduction zone,” Dr. Tao Lai, senior principal engineer at AIR Worldwide, said in a release. “The region is exposed to subduction interface, intraslab, and shallow crustal earthquakes.”

In the last 50 years, the region within 150 km of the quake experienced 55 other quakes of at least 5-magnitude, including a few of 7-magnitude and larger.

“However, historically there has not been any record of large M8.0 subduction interface earthquakes in this area.”

AIR’s loss estimates primarily include damage from ground shaking, as well as some damage from liquefaction and fire following. The estimates are based on assumed take-up rates of earthquake insurance for properties.

Copyright © 2017 Transcontinental Media G.P.
Transcontinental Media G.P.