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Can Insurers Withstand Catastrophes?

Insurers and reinsurers worldwide have the financial strength to pay the claims that will emerge from Japan’s 9.0 magnitude earthquake and the resulting tsunami but these events, coupled with the severe quakes that recently struck New Zealand and Chile, have placed extraordinary demands on the industry, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).

“The insurance industry will fulfill its traditional role as an economic first-responder, helping Japan recover from this devastating quake, just as it has done in New Zealand and Chile,” said Dr. Robert Hartwig, an economist and president of the I.I.I. “What makes this natural disaster so extraordinary is that four of the five costliest earthquakes and tsunamis in the past 30 years have occurred within the past 13 months, once you include what happened on March 11 in Japan.” Prior to Japan’s earthquake, insured earthquake losses worldwide dating back to February 2010, totaled an estimated $23 billon.

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Source: Insurance Information Institute, News Release – Mar 11, 2011



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