Sum of losses from earthquakes in Chile and Haiti and European windstorm Xynthia

SCOR has announced preliminary loss estimates for natural catastrophes seen so far in the first quarter of 2010.


The magnitude of 8.8 earthquake that struck Chile on 27 February 2010, followed by strong aftershocks in the region, was the fifth largest in the world since 1900. It partly destroyed the cities located around the epicentre, reached Santiago, and according to the Chilean authorities caused 279 fatalities.

Based on preliminary estimates, Scor expects its costs from the Chilean earthquake to reach approximately €95m net pre-tax. The figure represents approximately 3% of the projected annual net earned premiums of SCOR Global P&C, i.e. about half of the annual cat budget. There is, however, a strong component of uncertainty at play: approximately half of the losses are estimated to come from SCOR treaty business, with expected market losses ranging between $5.5bn and $8.5bn. The rest of the losses relates to the facultative book and contains a higher degree of uncertainty.


Another unusually strong earthquake happened in Haiti. At a magnitude of 7.3, the earthquake struck the country on 12 January 2010 and was followed by at least 52 aftershocks, themselves with a magnitude of more than 4.5. According to the Haitian authorities, the earthquake caused more than 230,000 fatalities and 300,000 casualties, destroyed thousands of public and private buildings, including medical facilities, and damaged the country’s infrastructure and communications network. SCOR’s initial estimate for the claims relating to this event is approximately €27m net pre-tax.

Windstorm Xynthia

Finally, Windstorm Xynthia blew across Europe over the weekend of 27-28 February, hitting seven countries (Portugal, France, Spain, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg). The west coast of France was hit particularly hard. Wind gusts of over 200km/h and storm surge floods caused severe material damage and 52 fatalities, prompting the French government to declare the storm a “natural disaster”, which triggered state support through the CCR. According to initial estimates, SCOR expects the claims relating to windstorm Xynthia to amount to approximately €35m net pre-tax, based on estimated market losses of €2.5 – €3.0bn concentrated in France and Germany.