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Damage, death toll mounting in deadly quakes in Japan and Ecuador

Damage, death toll mounting in deadly quakes in Japan and Ecuador

Deadly earthquakes that struck Japan and Ecuador during the weekend resulted in major losses, though adjusters and catastrophe modelers Tuesday said insured loss data is still being compiled.

Two earthquakes that hit Japan reportedly affected major auto manufacturers including Toyota and Honda. While some operations remained closed Tuesday, reports said damage to the automakers' supply chain was considered to be less disruptive than originally feared.

Commercial flights to the damaged Kumamoto airport were canceled, and bullet train service to the region was suspended. The Kumamoto region is an important manufacturing hub and home to Japan's only operating nuclear station, according to reports.

In Ecuador, which was hit by a quake registering 7.8 on the Richter scale, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated that there was a 48% likelihood that economic damage would exceed $100 million, according to a report issued by Aon Benfield's Impact Forecasting.

At least 45 people reportedly died in the Japan quakes, while the Ecuador quake killed more than 400.

Risk Management Solutions Inc. said key areas of concern for the insurance industry are around Esmeraldas, a major Ecuador port city that has facilities for international sea trade and is home to the country's largest oil refinery with a capacity of 110,000 barrels per day.

However, RMS said, oil production was unaffected and the country's energy industry remains largely intact.

The country's largest seaport, Manta, and the region's main commercial center, Portoviejo, also were affected, RMS said.

“Right across the affected coastal areas it's clear that construction standards are often poor,” RMS said in a statement. “Major commercial buildings and the many seaside hotels are also likely to be of concern to the insurance industry.”

In the area, four hotels had collapsed, and more than two dozen others were damaged, RMS said.

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