27. December 2004 · Comments Off on Insured Losses From Quake May Be Less Than $5 Billion · Categories: General

This just in from Bloomberg:

“The reason it’s so low is there’s not much insured,” said Robert Hartwig, an economist with the Insurance Information Institute in New York. “A wave like this coming ashore in Florida would have produced economic losses dwarfing those of the hurricanes — tens and tens of billions of dollars.”

Yesterday’s magnitude 9.0 quake and the ensuing tidal waves killed at least 19,000 people, mainly in areas with little insured property. Hurricanes in the U.S. this caused at least $27 billion in insured damages. Most of the quake claims will be borne by European and Asian insurers, Hartwig said.

I could have told you this when this tragedy first struck. The resorts and millionaire retreats will all be insured, and if their coverage falls short, just as with disasters here in the US, they will be the ones most skillful at glomming on to relief funds. The poorest people, who in this part of the world are unlikely to have their property ownership document, and much less likely, insured. will be the ones who suffer the most.

All efforts should be made to assure that relief goes first to those in the greatest need.

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