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Japan, Ecuador earthquake insured loss estimates near $4 billion

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Insured losses resulting from earthquakes that hit Japan and Ecuador are estimated at $2.25 billion to $3.75 billion, catastrophe modelers said Thursday.

In its estimate of two earthquakes that hit Japan, and particularly the Kumamoto Prefecture on Japan's Kyushu Island, AIR Worldwide estimated insured losses at $1.7 billion to $2.9 billion.

Fifty-eight people were reported killed and more than 900 were injured in the quakes. The Japan Fire and Disaster Management Agency estimated that more than 3,900 residences and 120 nonresidential buildings were damaged or destroyed. The quakes also sparked mudslides and more than a dozen fires, Boston-based AIR said in a statement.

The quakes damaged highways, rail lines, bridges and other infrastructure, causing short-term disruption of airline and train service. There also were “significant” supply chain and production interruptions for regional industries.

The quakes also affected the Fukuoka, Oita, and Miyazaki prefectures, AIR said.

In its estimate, Newark, California-based Risk Management Solutions Inc. said Thursday that insured losses in Japan ranged from $2.5 billion to $3.5 billion, including residential, commercial and industrial buildings.

“The events last week were likely associated with the Futagawa-Hinagu Fault System,” Chesley Williams, RMS senior geophysicist, said a statement. “The damage from these events is concentrated in Kumamoto Prefecture in close proximity to this fault system and was primarily due to strong ground shaking and slope failures.”

As far as the deadly April 16 magnitude-7.8 quake that struck Ecuador, AIR estimated insured losses at $325 million to $850 million.

According to the Ecuador's Secretariat for Risk Management, some 570 people were killed and more than 4,600 injured were, AIR said in a statement.

More than 1,100 buildings were reported destroyed in six provinces — Esmeraldas, Los Ríos, Manabí, Santa Elena, Guayas, and Santo Domingo — that were hit the hardest. The airport at Manta also was closed.