RMS Analyzes Iceland Quake

June 3, 2008

Fortunately no deaths have been reported from the strong earthquake – estimated at magnitude 6.1 by the USGS – which shook Iceland last Thursday. However, an anlysis by Risk Management Solutions indicates that there was light to moderate damage to property, as well as some injuries.

RMS said: “According to preliminary reports from the USGS, the epicentre was around 30 miles (50 kms) east southeast of Reykjavik. The USGS indicates that there was strong to very strong shaking in the epicentre region, with the potential of light to moderate damage.

“Selfoss is the largest town in the epicentre region with a population of around 6,000. Damage reports suggest that there has been considerable contents damage to homes in Hveragerdi, Selfoss, Thorlakshfn, Eyrarbakki and Stokkseyri.”

Neena Saith, catastrophe response manager at RMS in London, commented: “Preliminary reports suggest that structural damage seems to be fairly light, mainly consisting of cracked walls, although one farm house appears to have collapsed. Some residents were injured during the earthquake, but no fatalities have been reported.

“The last significant earthquakes in this region were in 2000 when a magnitude 6.5 and magnitude 6.1 struck southern Iceland. Both these events occurred in slightly less populated areas than the May 29 earthquake and insured losses of $15 million and $9 million respectively were reported.”

RMS said it is “monitoring the situation to assess the impact of yesterday’s earthquake on the insurance industry.”

Source: Risk Management Solutions – www.rms.com

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