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Modelers assessing Peru quake losses

Posted On: Aug. 16, 2007 12:00 AM CST

LIMA, Peru--Catastrophe modeler EQECAT Inc. estimated Thursday that a magnitude 8.0 earthquake, which killed hundreds in Peru, caused economic losses ranging from $10 billion to $20 billion.

EQECAT also estimated that residential areas sustained about half the economic damage in the region, with commercial/industrial structures suffering the remainder of the losses.

Both EQECAT and Boston-based catastrophe modeler AIR Worldwide Corp. reported that the percentage of residential property that is insured is likely to be low.

Cat modeling companies expect, however, that insurance takeup rates for commercial structures, especially those owned by multinational companies, are much higher and will drive insured losses.

Peru's main port in Pisco suffered significant damage and disrupted trade. Some international companies had already arranged for their cargo to ship through alternative ports, said Nicolas Salazar, chief executive officer for Segurnet S.A., an insurance broker serving large commercial policyholders in Lima.