Eqecat: Virginia quake to cost insurers less than $100m – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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Eqecat: Virginia quake to cost insurers less than $100m

The earthquake that struck Virginia and shook the eastern of the US on Tuesday caused less than $100 million in insured losses, catastrophe modelling company Eqecat said yesterday.

Meanwhile insured loss forecasts for Hurricane Irene fell dramatically yesterday, as updated projections put the storm on a more easterly course that would keep the centre of the monster system off the US east coast when the winds are at their strongest.

Kinetic Analysis Corp was predicting insured losses of $722 million from Irene, which was expected to batter The Bahamas today. The figure was less than half the amount the same modellers had predicted on Tuesday.

Bermuda re/insurers, who have already paid out massive catastrophe claims in the first half of the year after earthquakes in japan and New Zealand, flooding in Australia and tornadoes in the US, are watching the storm closely.

Some industry observers have suggested that a hurricane this year causing insured losses of more than $20 billion would be sufficient to see property and catastrophe insurance rates turn significantly higher.

Eqecat said the relatively weak nature of the earthquake kept losses from being worse. Had the quake been a magnitude seven instead of a roughly magnitude six temblor, insured losses would have been more than 20 times higher, it said.

The company, whose models are used by insurance companies to predict losses and plan coverage, said its data suggest minor damage would be more common in the affected areas than significant structural damage.

Several major earthquakes around the world have rocked the insurance industry in the last few months; prices have started turning higher after years of declining rates for coverage. The March quake in Japan alone caused tens of billions of dollars in insured losses and hundreds of billions in economic losses.

Yesterday, a 6.9 magnitude earthquake was reported in Peru.

Shaken: Police block off the alley behind the Embassy of Ecuador in Washington after part of the building sustained damages during Tuesday's earthquake

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Published August 25, 2011 at 10:00 am (Updated August 24, 2011 at 9:20 pm)

Eqecat: Virginia quake to cost insurers less than $100m

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