On 10 September1 we reported that broker Guy Carpenter had predicted total insured losses following the Tianjin chemical warehouse explosion of between US$1.64 billion and US$ 3.25 billion. This figure is climbing further with (according to Lloyd’s List) more recent estimates of between US$5 and 6 billion, some four times as much as initial estimates.

It has been reported in the media that excessive levels of cyanide have been detected in surface wastewater at the site of the blast. In some places levels of 27 times the acceptable limit of cyanide have been detected. Many containers have been opened following the explosion and there have been reports of an odour thought to be cyanide. If cyanide contamination has damaged the containerised cargo, this is likely to trigger difference-in-conditions and difference-in-limits policies, which broaden coverage by providing additional limits for specific perils. Logistics specialist mutual, TT Club, which insures four boxes out of five in the world’s container fleet, will take the biggest hit.