EQECAT Estimates Spain Quake Insured Losses at $100 Million Maximum

May 13, 2011

Catastrophe modeling firm EQECAT has released a “CatWatch update” on the market loss estimate for the May 11 earthquake near Lorca, Spain, which indicates that, based on the latest information available, insured losses are not expected to exceed $100 million.

EQECAT said the 5.1 magnitude earthquake “ruptured near the surface about 200 miles (350 kilometers) SSE of the capital city of Madrid. The earthquake epicenter is reported to be at 37.7°N, 1.7°W. There are at least 10 fatalities reported, primarily caused by the collapse of masonry walls.

“Damage to properties from this event is concentrated in a compact region near the epicenter, but this area includes the central business district of Lorca. There are many reports of partial collapses of buildings.”

In addition, the report said the earthquake occurred in a “seismic belt that runs across Spain’s southern Mediterranean coast. Unreinforced masonry is a common construction material in the region, especially among older buildings in the city center, and the vulnerability of this type of construction to damage resulting from earthquakes is the primary cause of the damage.

“Earthquake insurance is a mandatory coverage of property insurance in Spain (except for agricultural property, construction, and erection risks).”

Source: EQECAT

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