Reinsurance giant Swiss Re said Monday that damage to Japan's nuclear facilities in last week's devastating earthquake is unlikely have a significant impact on the property and casualty insurers.

"/> Reinsurance giant Swiss Re said Monday that damage to Japan's nuclear facilities in last week's devastating earthquake is unlikely have a significant impact on the property and casualty insurers.

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FINANCE

Swiss Re: Japan nuclear plants ‘limited cost’

Reinsurance giant Swiss Re said Monday that damage to Japan's nuclear facilities in last week's devastating earthquake is unlikely have a significant impact on the property and casualty insurers.

However, the impact arising from residential and commercial property claims is mixed.

 

“Generally, coverage for nuclear facilities in Japan excludes earthquake shock, fire following earthquake and tsunami, both in terms of physical damage and liability. Coverage for property policies excludes nuclear contamination,” Swiss Re said.
 

“Overall, there is unlikely to be a significant impact on the property and casualty insurance industry as a result of this nuclear incident,” it said.
 

For residential property, coverage for earthquake shock and tsunami are also provided by a government-run scheme and therefore “typically not reinsured in the private market.”
 

However, fire coverage is provided by the private insurance industry and would therefore cost reinsurers.
 

In addition, coverage for commercial and industrial properties are provided by private insurers and take up rates are high, it added.
 

“Swiss Re is currently evaluating its exposure to the event. Given the nature of the destruction, combined with the ongoing recovery efforts and evacuation areas, it will take some time to estimate the damage,” it said.
 

Ratings agency Moody’s forecast that Swiss Re will count among reinsurers that will “report the highest losses on a nominal basis.”
 

A 8.9-magnitude earthquake on Friday and a massive tsunami killed at least 1,647 and thousands more are feared dead.
 

The quake also damaged nuclear plants, with engineers struggling Monday to cool reactors after two blasts at the Fukushima complex.

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INSURANCE

EXPLAINED: Why you need ‘legal protection insurance’ in Switzerland

Swiss insurance companies offer a variety of services, but the one covering legal disputes is among the most popular ones. This is what you should know about it.

EXPLAINED: Why you need 'legal protection insurance' in Switzerland
Law and order: Legal insurance may make it easier. Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels

The Swiss like to be prepared for all kinds of disasters — both real and imaginary.

This is where insurance comes in.

Whether it’s a policy that covers damages inflicted on cars by weasels, or insurance for theft of sleds and skis placed outside a mountain restaurant, people here don’t like to leave anything to chance.

One of the most popular optional coverages — as opposed the health insurance, which is compulsory — is legal protection insurance (Rechtsschutzversicherungen in German, protection juridique in French, and protezione giuridica in Italian).

What is it and what does it cover?

Simply put, it covers attorney and other associated fees if you undertake court action against someone, are sued, or simply need legal advice.

There are two different types of legal protection insurance — one specifically for traffic accidents and the other for all other matters. Sometimes they are combined.

Typically, this insurance covers costs of legal representation associated with contract disputes, employment, loans and debts, healthcare, housing, retail purchases, and travel.

Photo by Rodnae Productions from Pexels

Some carriers also insure cases related to marital law and inheritance.

Most will not cover attorney fees for criminal cases where you are the perpetrator, or financial disputes related to asset management, banking and investment.

Also excluded is legal action related to political or religious activism.

Can you choose your own lawyer or will you have one assigned to you by the insurance company?

Typically, an insurer has a roster of approved attorneys with whom it works. Some allow the client to choose from the list, while  others select one for you.

If your own lawyer is part of your insurer’s roster, you can request he or she represents you, but it is not guaranteed.

How much does this insurance cost?

Fees vary depending on what coverage you need (traffic accidents, general, or combined), whether they have deductibles, and how high they are.

You can compare the premiums by using this link.

Do you actually need this coverage?

As is the case with any optional insurance, you don’t need it until you do.

Generally speaking, and according to online consumer comparison site Moneyland.ch, “if you require legal consultation at least once every two years, getting personal legal insurance often makes financial sense. Just the legal consultation benefits which you get with some insurance policies can make up for the cost of premiums”.

READ MORE: How much does health insurance cost in Switzerland?

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