Figures from the latest iteration of Aon’s monthly Global Catastrophe recap report have highlighted the scale of Asia’s protection gap following the severe flood and earthquake events in India and Indonesia respectively.
The report states that the Kerala state in India was hit by its worst flooding in over 90 years, causing an estimated INR300 billion ($4.25 billion) economic losses and leaving 500 people dead or missing.
Government officials listed more than 23,000 homes damaged or destroyed, with even greater impacts to the commercial sector, agriculture, and infrastructure.
The General Insurance Companies of India cited that more than 13,000 insurance claims had already been filed with a payout of INR12.4 billion ($175 million); this total is expected to rise as high as INR45 billion ($635 million).
“After a relatively quiet first half of 2018 for Asia in terms of natural peril impacts, the months of July and August have seen a reversal of that pattern,” explained Steve Bowen, Impact Forecasting Director and Meteorologist.
“Two particularly significant events – the historic floods in India’s state of Kerala, and a sequence of four powerful earthquakes in Indonesia’s Lombok region – combined to cause $5 billion in economic damage.”
A series of powerful earthquakes impacted Indonesia’s Lombok Island this year, with at least four significant tremors occurring since the end of July: M6.4 (July 29), M6.9 (August 5), M6.3 (August 19) and M6.9 (August 19).
“Despite the high economic toll, only a small fraction of those losses will be covered by insurance due to low take-up,” added Bowen.
The latest data from the country’s National Disaster Management Agency indicated that at least 560 people had been killed in Lombok since a series of strong tremors began, the majority of whom were killed due to the strongest tremor on August 5.
“This once again highlights an opportunity for government entities and the private insurance market to work together to lower the protection gap that exists in many emerging and developed markets.”