The earthquakes that struck Japan on April 14-15 will cost more in terms of economic losses than previously estimated, though insured losses are much lower, according to the latest RMS estimates.
Economic damage estimates from the catastrophe modeling firm now land between $5.5 billion and $7.5 billion. RMS initially estimated that economic damage estimates would hit between $2.5 billion and $3.5 billion, arising from damage to property and contents for residential, commercial and industrial buildings.
RMS said that insured losses for the Kumamoto quakes appear to be between $800 million and $1.2 billion.
Why did economic losses go so much higher? RMS explained that detailed data led to the change.
“The updated economic damage estimate reflects the evolution of the building damage statistics from the April 14 and 15 events, detailed data gathered through reconnaissance by RMS engineers and scientists, and revisions to the U.S. Geological Survey ShakeMap,” RMS Senior Earthquake Engineer Renee Lee said in prepared remarks. “Our understanding of the events in Kumamoto takes into account this new information.”
RMS’s economic and insured loss estimates do not include elements such as business interruption or alternative living expense impacts, infrastructure damage, land damage, auto or workers compensation.
The RMS estimate differs from other catastrophe modeling operations. Marsh & McLennan subsidiary Guy Carpenter & Co., for example, tallied $1.7 billion to $2.9 billion in insured losses from the Kumamoto earthquakes, higher than RMS’s insured loss estimates.
That estimate, as Guy Carpenter pointed out, covers a variety of issues stemming from the initial quake event.
Japanese authorities estimated that 65 people died in the earthquake and another 332 suffered severe injuries, with more than 2,000 buildings damaged. Guy Carpenter noted the damage to commercial companies such as Nissan, Honda and Toyota Motor Corp., which “felt the significant impact of the events.”
Toyota alone is expected to lose 80,000 units of production after shutting down nearly all of its assembly plants in Japan in the quake’s initial aftermath, Guy Carpenter said.
Guy Carpenter’s insured loss estimate matches AIR Worldwide, which predicted post-quake insured losses between $1.7 billion and $2.9 billion for damaged properties.
Sources: RMS, Guy Carpenter