• Kyodo News


Nonlife insurers may have to pay record earthquake insurance benefits for the Tohoku catastrophe, exceeding the ¥78.3 billion paid for the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995, an industry leader said Thursday.

“I’m sure that benefit payments would reach an all-time high,” said Hisahito Suzuki, chairman of the General Insurance Association of Japan.

But the massive payments may have no serious impact on individual nonlife insurance companies that have accumulated sufficient reserves with the government planning to shoulder some of the payments, he said.

Suzuki, president of Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Co., said nonlife insurers will jointly probe damage from the disaster in a bid to bring about swift benefit payments.

Quake insurance covered more than 30 percent of households at the end of March 2010 in hardest-hit Miyagi Prefecture.

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