Swiss Re Estimates Tsunami Claims Under $90 Million

December 30, 2004

Swiss Re has released a statement indicating that it expects its claims for the tsunamis in the Indian Ocean to be below CHF 100 million ($88.5 million).

“On 26 December 2004 near the North of Indonesia, an earthquake with a magnitude of 9.0 on the Richter scale, the strongest in 40 years, triggered tsunamis which caused widespread death and massive damage to coastal areas around the Indian Ocean,” said the announcement. “Swiss Re would like to express its profound sadness regarding the human tragedy caused by this enormous natural catastrophe.The countries the most affected are Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia and the Maldives.”

The bulletin explained that the “sheer size of the event and the absence of historical data available make it difficult to provide an exact estimation of the damage, particularly as information from the affected areas is still scarce. However, the claims cost for the insurance industry will be in sharp contrast to the human and economic losses triggered by this event as the insurance penetration in the coastal areas of the affected countries and the concentration of value is comparatively low.”

Swiss Re said most of the insured losses are likely to concern property damage and business interruption, and that these would be below CHF 100 million.

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