AIR Gives Preliminary Analysis of Peru Quake Losses

October 31, 2011

In a bulletin released shortly after the earthquake in Peru, Catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide said that “given the relatively sparse population in the epicentral area and the fact that insurance penetration is generally low (estimated at just 2 percent for residential construction), AIR does not expect significant insured losses from this event.”

AIR noted that in “2007, a magnitude 8.0 earthquake (also a subduction event) struck 60 miles north of the epicenter of today’s quake. The tremor caused more than 500 fatalities and over 35,000 buildings were destroyed. Most of the damage was sustained in Pisco, where about 80 percent of the structures—mostly of adobe construction—were destroyed. The destructive power of today’s magnitude 6.9 earthquake is orders of magnitude lower.”

However, in its analysis AIR pointed out that “Peru has made significant improvements in their building standards over the past several decades, with newer important buildings, such as schools, performing very well even during very large earthquakes. However, in cities and towns throughout Peru—including those affected by today’s earthquake—about 21 percent of residences are still made of adobe or quincha.”

AIR added that “masonry accounts for 71 percent of Peru’s residential construction and 64 percent of that is unreinforced masonry, which is among the construction types most vulnerable to damage from ground shaking. Confined masonry buildings, which are more earthquake resistant, are the second most common type of masonry residences in Peru, but they comprise just 21 percent of all masonry residential buildings. About 55 percent of commercial structures are masonry and another 21 percent are of reinforced concrete.”

Source: AIR Worldwide

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