Quake costs worsen for Lloyd's

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The Independent Online
Lloyd's of London is set to be hit harder than first expected by the earthquake that devasted Kobe, Japan's second largest port, earlier this week.

In a statement in the immediate aftermath of the quake, Richard Keeling, a leading catastrophe underwriter, said: "The Japanese market is highly regulated, with 98 per cent of cover provided by domestic insurers."

However, a spokesman for Lloyd's yesterday conceded that those figures applied only to property claims. They do not acount for marine business and agricultural business.

Within property, the figures only apply to primary insurance cover. Many Japanese insurers will have reinsured themselves in London.

The cost to marine insurers is likely to be high, as much of Kobe port has suffered from liquefaction, which occurs when subsoil mixes with water, causing buildings and infrastructure to sink.

Marine costs will also include damaged cargo containers and their contents, as well as possible damage to ships.