CCRIF investigating M6.5 Barbados earthquake

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The CCRIF SPC (formerly the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility) is investigating a magnitude 6.5 earthquake which struck near the Lesser Antilles islands in the Caribbean, with Barbados being the closest to the epicenter.

The M6.5 earthquake struck at 15:16 UTC yesterday the 16th July, at a depth of 10km and around 130km or 80 miles from Barbados itself, according to the USGS.

The quake was felt widely on Barbados and also across some other Caribbean islands, which are also CCRIF policyholders.

Barbados earthquake location

Barbados earthquake location - Source: USGS

CCRIF SPC told Artemis that it investigates all earthquakes with a magnitude greater than 5 that affect CCRIF countries. As a result yesterday M6.5 quake is under investigation.

That means that the CCRIF SPC will actually have three quakes to investigate, as there was an M5.7 at 12:00 UTC on the 16th and an M5.2 just 20 minutes after the M6.5 struck.

Barbados would be considered the most likely to receive any payout, given it’s situated much closer to the earthquake epicenter. These policies feature a parametric trigger, so payout is based on the actual intensity of the ground motion from any quake.

At this time it’s impossible to tell whether any payout will result from this earthquake. Given the distance of the epicenter from Barbados, and the fact that local reports suggest little in the way of damage, it seems unlikely.

Of course the CCRIF itself has protection in the form of reinsurance and also a catastrophe bond, World Bank – CCRIF 2014-1, which does cover Caribbean earthquake risks. However that bond is designed to protect CCRIF SPC from risks that would result in big payouts to its policyholders, so it’s safe to assume that it would be untouched by this earthquake.

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