PERILS raises insured loss estimate for Turkey quakes to $4.4bn

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Catastrophe loss data aggregator PERILS AG has raised its estimate for insurance industry losses from February’s Kahramanmaras Earthquake Sequence in Turkey to TRY 86.4 billion (USD 4.4 billion).

The updated figure represents a significant increase on PERILS’ initial insured loss estimate of TRY 65.4 billion (USD 3.5 billion), which was released in March six weeks after the event.

It’s still some way below the $5 billion range suggested by CoreLogic and RMS back in February.

But any estimate of insured losses will surely remain well below the ultimate bill for economic costs, which the World Bank has put in the region of $34 billion.

Meanwhile, PERILS reports that official government figures put the cost of direct physical damage at TRY 1.6 trillion (USD 82 billion) and indirect economic costs at TRY 350 billion (USD 18 billion).

Additionally, the independent Zurich-based organisation specified that its latest estimate does not include losses from Syria, including only losses from the property line of business incurred in Turkey.

The economic loss in Syria is currently estimated by the United Nations at USD 15 billion.

“Our second loss report gives some indication of the immense scale of the Kahramanmaras Earthquake Sequence, with highly populated areas with large value concentrations severely impacted by the even,” said Luzi Hitz, CEO of PERILS. “Recovering from a loss of this magnitude is a huge undertaking, but some initial shoots of recovery are evident with the reopening of schools in affected provinces in Turkey on 24 April.”

Hitz continued: “Insurance and reinsurance can play a central role in restoration efforts after an earthquake event. However, to ensure sustainable capacity, it is critical that the risk is properly understood and can be assessed accurately and effectively.”

“By providing our industry loss and exposure data for Turkey and many other territories, we hope to contribute to this heightened risk understanding and by so doing, support the increased availability of insurance and reinsurance for natural catastrophe risk.”

The Kahramanmaras Earthquake Sequence consisted of three major earthquakes measuring Mw 7.8, Mw 6.7 and Mw 7.5 on the moment magnitude scale, which occurred along the south-western end of the East Anatolian fault system on February 6th and caused extreme ground shaking in south-central Turkey and north-western Syria.

The event caused immense loss of life and human suffering, with latest official figures put the death toll at 50,783 in Turkey and 8,476 in Syria. The number of injured was estimated at 107,204 in Turkey and over 14,800 in Syria, and approximately 3 million people were relocated from their homes and 5.2 million people needed humanitarian assistance.

The Turkish Catastrophe Insurance Pool (TCIP) said it had made TRY 6.5 billion (USD 340.36 million) in claim payments related to the quakes by the end of March, while major reinsurers have also commented on the scale of losses they expect to incur, with Hannover Re anticipating a loss in the range of €200 million.

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