New Zealand quake to cost insurers up to $12 billion
Swiss Re, one of the world's biggest reinsurers, estimated Wednesday that February's New Zealand earthquake would cost insurers between $6 and $12 billion.
"The total insured claims for the insurance sector for the earthquake in New Zealand are estimated to be between $6 billion to $12 billion," said the reinsurer.
Swiss Re added that the deadly catastrophe which struck Christchurch was expected to cost the Zurich-based outfit $800 million before tax.
The reinsurer noted that costs to the industry were particularly high as take-up rates for earthquake insurance was significant in New Zealand.
It added that there remained uncertainties in its estimates and that the preliminary forecasts could yet be revised.
Grieving New Zealanders fell silent on Tuesday to mark the moment last week when the 6.3 magnitude earthquake tore apart the country's second largest city and claimed hundreds of lives.
The reconstruction bill for the city has been estimated at up to NZ$16 billion ($12 billion).
© 2011 AFP