A magnitude 7.1 earthquake occurred near the coastal Honduran island of Roatan at 3:24 a.m. local time on Thursday May 28, 2009. Although the earthquake caused relatively little property damage to the tourist resorts on Roatan or to buildings on mainland Honduras and nearby Guatemala and Belize, it may pose the risk of business interruption claims due to infrastructure damage in the Honduran business hub of San Pedro Sula.
Early reports indicate that the earthquake destroyed at least 24 homes in Honduras, killing at least four people and injuring at least 40. In addition, the earthquake reportedly caused a fire in a two-story warehouse in San Pedro Sula, as well as the collapse of one of the two bridges that connect the business hub to the rest of the country. Public officials have reportedly closed the only other bridge for safety inspections.
Considered by many to be the business capital of Honduras, as opposed to the governmental capital in Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula has become a major hub for U.S. outsourcing of services and light industry, tourism, local transportation and commercial agriculture. Any interruption in utility service or transportation could therefore pose the risk of business interruption losses.