A second earthquake in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna this week has pushed the estimate of potential losses up, according to CAT risk modelling firm EQECAT.

Italian earthquakes could cost insurers $375m-$875m

Two earthquakes in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna this week could cost the insurance industry between $375m - $875m, according to CAT risk modelling firm EQECAT.

The risk expert revised its estimates after a major aftershock hit the region on Tuesday May 29, measuring 5.8 and 5.4 magnitude, destroying historic buildings and shutting down communication networks already affected by the 6.0 magnitude mainshock on May 20.

Residential buildings, churches and commercial buildings were damaged and many collapsed after being weakened during the first shock. Several thousands of people have been evacuated and displaced due to the disaster.

EQECAT said it has revised the initial estimate from its approximate $250m because “the contribution to losses from the most recent aftershocks and updated insight on insured values in the region.” Its insured loss estimate is based on “assumed insurance penetration rates of approximately 3%-5% for commercial/industrial lines of business and 1% or less for residential”.

The Italian earthquakes overshadowed another quake in Bulgaria on 22 May, which registered a similar magnitude of 6.0 on the Richter scale. The epicentre was 32km southwest of Sofia, in the region of Pernik and Radomir. Minor damage to buildings was reported though there were no casualties. Records showed that 30 further, milder aftershocks hit the area over a 12 hour period.