Printed from BusinessInsurance.com

FEW CLAIMS EXPECTED AFTER TYPHOON

Posted On: Aug. 24, 1997 12:00 AM CST

TAIPEI, Taiwan-Taiwan-ese risk managers do not expect to file many insurance claims from last week's Typhoon Winnie, which swept across northern Taiwan, killing at least 32 people and damaging homes and villages.

The medium-strength typhoon crossed Taiwan from the Pacific Ocean on Aug. 18 and then moved onto the Chinese mainland, where it caused extensive damage, mostly to homes.

Chan-fa Chiu, junior vp, risk management division with Evergreen International Corp., a Taiwanese diversified shipping company, said most of the damage in Taiwan was done to homes and resulted from flood waters.

"In terms of insured damage, it is not substantial, and a lot of the structures are residential houses, which are not insured against typhoon or flood," Mr. Chiu said.

"We have an idea on the rough damage from media reports, but no information on the insured losses," he said. "It is very difficult to calculate the loss to residents."

The typhoon was not strong enough in Taiwan to cause much structural damage, Mr. Chiu said.

Evergreen is based in Taoyuan Hsien, just outside Taipei, and its interests include hotels and shipping fleets.

Michael Goerke, Melbourne, Australia-based national manager-insurance industry group for Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, said he did not expect reinsurers to increase catastrophe reinsurance premiums as a result of the typhoon.

"The only way there will be a hardening of rates is if there is a dramatic increase in the number of catastrophes occurring," he said.

Taiwan's Central Disaster Rescue Center reported 32 fatalities and 78 reported injured. More than 37 homes have been destroyed.

Eleven of the at least 32 people killed in Taiwan were in a landslide that toppled four buildings at the Lincoln Big County Community, in Hsichih.

The weather delayed Taiwan's Mass Rapid Transport system and flights into Taipei.

Taiwan's weather bureau said the torrential rain from the storm equaled one quarter of Taiwan's regular annual rainfall.

Details of damage in China were unavailable late last week, but the storm's high winds and torrential rains were being blamed for more than 75 deaths there.

The typhoon also wreaked havoc in the Phillipines, causing floods that killed at least 12.