RMS Analyzes Italian Quake

April 7, 2009

The earthquake that struck the Italian city of L’Aquila, the regional capital of Abruzzi in central Italy, is now measured at a strong magnitude 6.3 on the Richter scale, according to Risk Management Solutions analysis of the disaster.

At least 179 people are known to have perished in the quake, and the death toll is expected to rise as rescuers continue their efforts to find more people trapped in the rubble of the stricken city and surrounding villages.

“This is a severe event, with between 3,000 and 10,000 buildings in the city thought to have sustained some degree of damage,” commented Dr. Andrew Sorby, earthquake risk expert at RMS. “Many residential buildings have collapsed in L’Aquila, including student housing, and some hotels and Government buildings have been seriously impacted. The dome of a church and the city’s cathedral have also been damaged, as well as a number of modern structures on the outskirts of the city.”

RMS also noted: “Communication and power lines are reported to have been damaged in the Abruzzo region but national power grid, Terna SpA, reported no disruption to their plants and infrastructure in the region. Enel SpA, the nation’s largest electricity provider, cut power supplies to 15,000 users as a ‘security measure’ after the quake, but also reported no damages.”

The earthquake shook regions “across central Italy, in cities such as Rome and as far away as Napoli,” RMS noted. However, “at this stage the damage seems fairly contained to the epicentral region.”

The bulletin indicated that “recent historical earthquakes in central parts of Italy such as those in Molise in 2002 (Mw5.7) and in Umbria/Marche in 1997 (Mw6.0) have resulted in a relatively low levels of loss to the insurance industry – although these events were smaller in magnitude and impacted rural areas.

“The penetration of earthquake insurance in Italy is relatively low, and is greater for commercial and industrial risks than for residential property. Even where cover is offered, the amount of earthquake coverage provided under property policies is limited and a deductible would normally apply.”

Source: Risk Management Solutions – www.rms.com

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.