NY Times On Who Will Pay For Japan Disaster

by Arin Greenwood on March 17, 2011

photo by J.Ota/Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license

The NY Times has a piece on why the Japanese government will likely end up bearing most of the costs of last week’s earthquake and tsunami:

Operators of nuclear plants in Japan are required to buy liability insurance through the Japan Atomic Energy Insurance Pool, an industry group. But they are required to buy coverage of only about $2.2 billion for liabilities, and the pool does not sell the utilities coverage for earthquake damage or business interruptions, suggesting it will again be up to the Japanese government to bear the brunt of those costs.

Risk modeler AIR Worldwide estimates that insured losses could be as high as $35 billion.

The Insurance Information Institute has a list of the ten costliest earthquake/tsunami events – the largest was 1994′s Northridge earthquake, which caused more than $40 billion in overall damages, and more than $15 billion in insured losses. Photos of that quake are chilling.

Our hearts go out to the people of Japan as they deal with the aftermath of this terrible event.

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