The estimates are early, but economic and insurance losses stemming from the earthquakes that struck Japan on April 14-15 are already in the billions of dollars and rising.
Catastrophe modeling firm RMS said that economic damage estimates from the Kumamoto earthquakes on Japan’s Kyushu Island is between $2.5 billion and $3.5 billion, stemming from damage to property and contents for residential, commercial and industrial buildings. The number does not include business interruption, shake and landslide-induced damage to infrastructure such as roads and highways, or damage to Kumamoto Castle.
RMS said it sent a reconnaissance team to the affected area to make the assessment. Among their findings: buildings located up-slope from small landslides were relatively undamaged, but buildings on or under affected slopes saw moderate or total damage. Also, among the buildings that had partial or total collapse on the slope, most were near each other.
Verisk Analytics-owned AIR Worldwide, meanwhile, focused on insured losses from the earthquakes. The catastrophe modeling firm predicted that this figure will be between $1.7 billion and $2.9 billion for damaged properties.
AIR said its estimates focus on damage from “ground shaking, liquefaction, and fire-following,” and that the number reflects physical damage to onshore residential, commercial/industrial and mutual property. This includes both structures and their contents.
Not included in the AIR estimate: uninsured property, land, infrastructure, automobile, business interruption, workers compensation and civil engineering loss estimates; marine cargo and hull risks; aviation risk, transit warehouse risks or personal accident risks. Losses from adjustment expenses, non-modeled perils such as landslide and demand surge for materials and expenses are also excluded.
Japan authorities said that 58 people died and more than 900 were injured in the earthquakes, AIR Worldwide noted. More than 3,900 residences and 120 non-residential buildings were either damaged or destroyed, and the region also dealt with mudslides, fires, power and water outages. Highway, rail line and other infrastructure damage was also widespread.
Sources: RMS, Verisk/Air Worldwide