Several strong and damaging earthquakes have occurred in Bulgaria during the last 200 years

Benfield has announced the launch of GAPQuake Bulgaria, its latest fully probabilistic earthquake loss model capable of evaluating losses from all seismic sources in and around the country.

Bruce Selby Bennett, head of the Central & Eastern Europe (CEE) team at Benfield commented, “The launch of GAPQuake Bulgaria underlines the unique ability of Benfield to help our customers in CEE to better assess their natural catastrophe exposures and optimise catastrophe reinsurance buying.

"Benfield has built probabilistic models covering all the major natural hazard perils in CEE which remains a region where the third party model vendors have yet to make a significant impact.”

The model was developed by Benfield ReMetrics Natural Hazards in co-operation with a team of Bulgarian scientists, led by Associated Professor Dimcho Solakov, who is the leading expert on seismic hazard in Bulgaria.

Vladimir Stejskal, the Project Leader for GAPQuake Bulgaria in the Benfield ReMetrics Natural Hazards Team explained, “The model’s Hazard component includes a set of more than 31,000 simulated earthquakes that could potentially affect Bulgaria. 14 seismic source zones are modelled in the country and its neighbours (Romania, Serbia, FYR Macedonia, Greece and Turkey). Professor Solakov commented, “The Vulnerability component was specifically built to reflect Bulgarian building standards.”

Professor Solakov also added, “Bulgaria is part of a seismically active zone in Southeast Europe. Several strong and damaging earthquakes have occurred in Bulgaria during the last two hundred years. In 1928 a sequence of two earthquakes of a magnitude of approx 7 hit central Bulgaria which resulted in 74,000 buildings being destroyed and 114 people were killed in the towns of Plovdiv, Chirpan and Parvomay.”

The GAPQuake Bulgaria model estimates that in today’s monetary terms a modelled insured as-if loss to residential property in Bulgaria to a 1928 magnitude 7 earthquake with an epicentre near Plovdiv is €1.08bn.

GAPQuake Bulgaria was launched at a World Bank organised workshop on Catastrophe Risk Insurance in Bulgaria held on 27 May and attended by over 80 representatives from local insurers, brokers, politicians, key ministries and academics.