Japanese property insurers likely to withstand losses despite Noto Peninsula Earthquake: GlobalData

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Property insurers in Japan are expected to maintain profitability in 2024 despite the 7.6 magnitude earthquake that struck Noto Peninsula at the start of the year, and caused insured loss of around $6 billion, according to GlobalData.

View of Mt Fuji, JapanOn January 1st, 2024, the Noto Peninsula earthquake shook the area resulting in over 240 casualties and caused widespread property damage to over 4,000 properties, according to Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency (FDMA).

Despite this, analysts believe that Japanese property insurers in Japan are likely to withstand the losses and will not be negatively impacted.

Sravani Ampabathina, Insurance Analyst at GlobalData, said: “Japanese property insurers have been able to maintain stable operations despite the recurring earthquakes, as majority of the residential insured losses are borne by the government.

“Also, insurers carry minimal net retention on corporate earthquake policies and cede most of the risks to reinsurers, which help in keeping a check on their profitability.”

The earthquake caused around JPY1.1–2.6tr ($8.6–$20.3bn) in economic losses, and around JPY792bn ($6bn) in insured losses.

However, the government through the Japan Earthquake Reinsurance Company (JER) is likely to bear around 98% of insured residential earthquake claims, with a cap of JPY11.8 trillion ($91.7bn) per earthquake.

Commercial policies in Japan are less popular due to their higher cost. Additionally, Japanese insurers often transfer a large portion of commercial earthquake risks to US and European reinsurers to reduce their retention, analysts explain.

According to GlobalData’s Insurance Database, earthquake insurance accounted for 18.2% share of the Japanese general reinsurance ceded premiums in the year ending 31 March 2023.

“In addition to receiving support from the JER, property insurers’ profitability is expected to remain resilient due to frequent increases in premium rates of fire and natural hazard insurance policies, which accounts for around 85% of the property insurance GWP,” Ampabathina noted.

In order to ensure the sustainability of the earthquake insurance scheme, fire insurance premium rates are periodically evaluated by the General Insurance Rating Organization of Japan (GIROJ).

During 2018–23, the GIROJ raised premium rates four times, supporting the growth of property insurance in the country.

GlobalData forecasts the Japanese property insurance industry to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.1% from JPY3.4tr ($26.7bn) in 2024 to JPY4.3tr ($38.8bn) in 2028, in terms of gross written premiums (GWP).

Analysts expect further premium rate evaluation to be initiated once the full-scale impact of the Noto Peninsula earthquake is realised on both insurers and reinsurers.

They also note that losses incurred by reinsurers from this earthquake may also contribute to premium rate increases, driving GWP growth over 2024–25.

Ampabathina concludes: “Japanese property insurers’ low exposure to earthquake damages will enable them to sustain losses despite the widespread property damage from the Noto Peninsula earthquake. As a result, the Japanese property insurers are expected to maintain a stable outlook in 2024.”

The post Japanese property insurers likely to withstand losses despite Noto Peninsula Earthquake: GlobalData appeared first on ReinsuranceNe.ws.

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