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Insured losses from the earthquake that struck Chile on Wednesday could range as high as $900 million, catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide said Monday.
Insured losses from the magnitude-8.3 earthquake that struck Chile's central coast near the city of Illapel will be between $600 million and $900 million, according to AIR Worldwide, a Boston-based unit of Verisk Analytics.
“The September 16 earthquake was the result of convergence between the Nazca and South American tectonic plates,” Mehrdad Mahdyiar, vice president and senior director of earthquake hazard research at AIR Worldwide, said in a statement.
The main shock, which was followed by several strong aftershocks, triggered a tsunami that was recorded in several countries and produced waves up to 3 feet high as far away as the Hawaiian Islands, Mr. Mahdyiar said.
The port city of Coquimbo, Chile, reported the highest tsunami wave at nearly 16½ feet, and debris and fishing boats washed inland into the downtown area, AIR said. Illapel, located directly east of the quake's epicenter, suffered the heaviest damage resulting from strong ground motion.
Authorities have stated that at least 12 people died as a result of the quake, which was felt as far as São Paulo, more than 1,800 miles away, the statement added.
AIR said that according to Chile's national emergency response agency , more than 400 residential buildings have been destroyed, while more than 700 sustained major damage.
AIR's insured loss estimates reflect insured physical damage to onshore property including residential, commercial and industrial, both structures and their contents, and auto, as well as direct business interruption losses, according to the statement.
The southern cone of South America has been affected by the El Nino weather pattern and has caused flooding and landslides in the region, Bloomberg reported.