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Japan rainfall, typhoon Haishen, January snowfall losses near $2.3bn


Insurance market losses from some of the larger catastrophe events to strike Japan over the last year have risen, with the latest figures for the July 2020 extreme rains, September 2020’s typhoon Haishen and January 2021’s snowfall event combining to near US $2.3 billion.

Japan imageThe General Insurance Association of Japan (GIAJ) provided the updated data recently, adding to its other recent disclosure of almost US $900 million claims paid after the Magnitude 7.0 earthquake that struck off the coast of the Fukushima region of Japan on February 13th 2021.

First, the record-breaking rainfall event that struck the prefectures of Kumamoto and Kagoshima on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu in early July 2020.

77 people died from the flooding and landslides, while property damage was significant as a result of the torrential rains.

Over 15,000 buildings were reported as either destroyed or damaged by flooding by Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency at the time.

Insurance and perhaps reinsurance market losses from this July 2020 Japanese rainfall and flooding event are now estimated to have reached almost US $970 million, up from US $855 million in December. This is based on claims paid data from domestic insurers and foreign non-life carriers operating in Japan, with over 40,000 claims now paid.

Property insurance related claims made up the bulk of the market impacts from this rainfall and flood event.

Next, Japanese typhoon Haishen from September 2020, which made landfall in Japan as a strong category 2-equivalent typhoon on September 6th 2020.

Haishen damaged numerous properties due to flooding and landslides, as well as some wind damage impacts in southern Japan.

The resulting overall insurance and perhaps reinsurance market loss has now risen to roughly US $905 million, up from US $840 million at the last reporting in December, again with the majority from property and allied lines of insurance business underwritten by domestic insurers and foreign non-life carriers operating in Japan and over 146,000 claims paid.

Finally, the January heavy snowfall event, which saw so-called ocean effect snow blanketing parts of Japan and causing one of the heaviest impacts from a snow event in a number of years.

The snowfall and related freezing weather caused blackouts and property damage, as well as economic shut-down effects.

The GIAJ estimates the claims paid total as now having reached US $422 million from the heavy snowfall event, again with the majority of claims property related and in total nearly 70,000 insurance claims paid.

The majority of the losses from these weather related catastrophe events were retained by the major Japanese domestic market property insurers, while a small portion likely found itself with international players and some reinsurance providers, particularly through reinsurance quota shares.

Losses from the July 2020 rains and typhoon Haishen did erode aggregate deductibles for some reinsurance programs, but affected layers will have been renewed at the recent April renewals and their aggregates reset to zero, we’d imagine.

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