Foreign reinsurers are beginning to count the cost of the earthquake in Chile last month, with announced loss estimates already surpassing $1.5 billion. Total losses from the magnitude 8.8 earthquake are expected to be between $4 billion and $7 billion, although some estimates range as high as $10 billion.
Those reinsurers that have already announced loss estimates include Swiss Re, which is forecasting a $500 million impact, and Partner Re, which has said it expects pre-tax claims of between $220 million to $320 million. Transatlantic Re has said it expects to incur net catastrophe costs this quarter of between $60 million and $90 million (comprised of the Chile earthquake and Winter Storm Xynthia), while Munich Re forecasts gross claims of around $540 million from the quake. Finally, Bermuda-based reinsurer Everest Re has said its net exposure to the Chile earthquake is estimated at $225 million.
In terms of losses by industry, according to a study by catastrophe modeling company Eqecat, an estimated 20% of Chile's fruit production has been lost and 25% of the fishing industry installed capacity has been left unusable (the fishing industry is expected to take a year to recover). Chile's prominent wine industry has lost at least $250 million, mostly in damaged wine and packaging, while the full extent of damage to the wine industry's infrastructure is not yet known. Other affected industries include cellulose production and steel, with the Huachipato steel plant being particularly badly hit. Chile's large copper mining industry was temporarily halted because of power failures, but production resumed shortly after the earthquake.
Infrastructure damage was also extensive. Electricity services are still being restored and tsunamis destroyed installations at several ports in southern Chile. The Chilean government estimates that port repairs will cost more than $100 million. The 116,000 bpd Bio Bio oil refinery was also hit by the quake and is not expected to restart for at least a month.