Sales of quake insurance up 18% last year

Kyodo

Sales of earthquake insurance policies by five major property and casualty insurance companies increased around 18 percent last year following the Great East Japan Earthquake, according to data compiled by Kyodo News.

Consumers took out around 5.5 million quake insurance policies from Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co., Sompo Japan Insurance Inc., Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co., Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Co. and Nipponkoa Insurance Co. between March 2011 and January, up 17.5 percent from a year earlier.

Quake insurance policies are sold as an option of fire insurance policies.

Consumers can take them out when they buy new fire insurance policies or renew existing ones.

They can also add them to their existing fire insurance policies.

In the period under review, the five insurers witnessed especially large increases in the addition of quake insurance policies, such as a 3.3-fold gain at Sompo Japan.

Meanwhile, insurers began offering coverage against the risk of earthquake and tsunami damage to automobiles in the wake of the March 11, 2011, disasters, such as a lump-sum payment of up to ¥500,000 to the owner of an automobile washed away by tsunami.

Demand, however, for the new insurance has remained weak because it is not yet widely known among the public.