Chinese Insurers Pay $165 Million for Snow Damage, More Claims Pending

February 14, 2008

Chinese insurers have paid more than $165 million in death and damage claims from snowstorms that killed at least 107 people, according to companies quoted by a state news agency.

Millions more in claims are pending from China’s worst snow and ice storms in five decades, which began Jan. 10, the Xinhua News Agency said.

Insurers have been warned not to reject or delay payouts, Xinhua said, citing the China Insurance Regulatory Commission.

The commission did not immediately respond to requests by phone and fax for comment.

The snows disrupted trucking and railways and ripped down power lines, worsening electricity shortages blamed on lack of coal. Steel mills and other businesses shut down.

Damage is estimated at $15.5 billion, Xinhua said in a separate report Wednesday, citing Li Xueju, the civil affairs minister.

Li was cited as saying the death toll had risen to 107, some 47 more than the 60 fatalities reported earlier.

The government says power and transportation have been restored in most storm-damaged areas. But the company that runs southern China’s power transmission grid says repairs to its network might not be completed until late March.

It was unclear how much of the damage and business losses might be recouped from insurance.

According to Xinhua, insurance commission spokesman Zhang Zhongning said he had no total for claims that are still pending. But it said one province, Hunan, has so far filed claims totaling $420 million.

Insurers have paid $118 million for property claims and $7.7 million for health and life policies, Xinhua said.

Power companies have received about $35 million, while the farming industry got $5.6 million, the report said.

The hardest-hit areas were Hubei and Anhui provinces in central China and Hunan and Guizhou provinces and the Guangxi region in the south.

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.