Reinsurance giant Swiss Re estimated on Monday that Japan's earthquake and tsunami have cost it some $1.2 billion, but said this figure could be revised upwards.

"/> Reinsurance giant Swiss Re estimated on Monday that Japan's earthquake and tsunami have cost it some $1.2 billion, but said this figure could be revised upwards.

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FINANCE

Swiss Re: Japan quake costs ‘over a billion’

Reinsurance giant Swiss Re estimated on Monday that Japan's earthquake and tsunami have cost it some $1.2 billion, but said this figure could be revised upwards.

“Based on preliminary estimates, Swiss Re expects its claims for the earthquake and the tsunami, net of the benefits of retrocession, to be approximately $1.2 billion before tax,” the group said in a statement.

 

“Our claims estimate is subject to a higher than usual degree of uncertainty, and may need to be subsequently adjusted,” it warned.
 

The determination of actual claims would require several months given the widespread destruction from the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and devastating tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, the Zurich-based reinsurer said.
 

An ensuing nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 plant is, however, unlikely to lead to significant loss for the insurance industry as coverage for such facilities in Japan excludes earthquake shock, as well as fire following an earthquake and tsunami, Swiss Re said.
 

Neither would it be affected by residential properties claims arising from the earthquake and tsunami as these are reinsured locally.
 

Rather, claims for the reinsurer are expected to arise from commercial and industrial risks. It would also have to pay out residential claims coming from fire following the earthquake.
 

“We extend our sympathies to the Japanese nation as they cope with the human tragedy and the destruction caused by this event,” said Stefan Lippe, Swiss Re chief executive.
 

The group added that it has donated towards relief efforts and pledged to help rebuilding efforts. It is also matching any contributions from employees.

EARTHQUAKES

UPDATE: Earthquake hits Swiss canton of Valais

An earthquake which registered 4.1 on the Richter scale shook parts of the Swiss canton on Tuesday. This is what we know so far.

The 4.1-scale earthquake struck some areas of Valais and was felt also in the Rhône Valley.
Residents of the Rhône Valley might have felt the jolt that hit the Arolla area. Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

Material damages of yet unspecified amount but no victims are reported in the aftermath of the earthquake that jolted the area near Arolla, at the foot of the Val d’Hérens, Tuesday around 7:40 am.  

The earthquake was “largely felt” in  parts of the Rhône Valley, from Villeneuve to Brig, as well as in the neighbouring valleys, according to Swiss Seismological Service (SED).

A aftershock occurred about half an hour later, but was weaker than the first, measuring 1.8 on the Richter scale.

Seismic activity is common in Switzerland, although most of it goes unnoticed by the population.

Valais is the canton with the highest earthquake risk, followed by Basel and Graubünden. 

 

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