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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Life insurance cos stare at highest natural disaster bill

Insurance officials feel that life insurance claims in Japan following last week's earthquake and the resulting tsunami will be the highest among all natural disasters so far. While the number of casualties have not been established, there are reports that 3,373 people are dead and another 6,746 are missing. There have also been statements from officials that the toll could go touch 10,000. This would be almost twice the 5,100 deaths which took place in Japan in 1995 following the Kobe earthquake. Although last week's disaster is among the worst in recent years, there have been several events, including the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 which caused higher casualties. For the insurance market, the difference this time is that the casualties have taken place in Japan, a country with one of the highest levels of insurance penetration and per capita income.

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