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Finance

Kumamoto quakes seen nearing insurance payout record

TOKYO -- Recent temblors concentrated in Kumamoto Prefecture are expected to result in the second-highest property insurance payout total of any Japanese natural disaster, partly on the growing popularity of earthquake insurance.

     Insurers had received 68,913 damage claims as of last Thursday, the General Insurance Association of Japan said Monday. The quake that struck the Kobe area in January 1995 generated 65,427 successful claims, resulting in payouts totaling 78.3 billion yen ($704 million) -- the current second-place figure.

     Just 9% of Japan's households had purchased earthquake insurance at the end of fiscal 1994. The figure more than tripled over a decade to 29% by the end of fiscal 2014.

     The March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster in northeast Japan holds the insurance payout record at 1.3 trillion yen. 

     Homes washed away by the tsunami accounted for much of the damage in 2011, enabling total losses to be calculated fairly quickly. Insurers are sending more inspectors to survey property damage in Kumamoto and neighboring areas. But continual aftershocks stand in the way of efforts to grasp the full extent of the disaster.

(Nikkei)

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