CROATIA: Zagreb earthquake's insured losses expected to reach up to EUR 63 million

21 September 2020 — Daniela GHETU
The 5.5 magnitude earthquake that hit Zagreb on March 22, 2020 has materialized for the Croatian insurers, in 6,255 claims settled so far, worth EUR 25.73 million. Expectations are that the final bill for insurers will amount to EUR 55 - EUR 63 million.

For the whole of 2020, the average paid compensation amounts to EUR 4,130, with an average annual premium of EUR 115. In the previous years, the total premium written by Croatian insurers for the earthquake risk was of about EUR 10.6 million. In 2020 insurers expect the sum will increase to about EUR 14.6 million, while the number of policies covering the earthquake risk will grow from about 107.3 thousand last year, to over 138.5 thousand.

It also worth noting that, according to data provided by HUO, the average claim value went up from ~EUR 1,815 in 2019, to EUR 4,130, while the average premium increased only from about EUR 106, to the current EUR 115. Data suggest that damages caused to the buildings by the earthquake are more severe than those usually caused by extreme weather events. Data also show the very low penetration of the earthquake insurance. In our estimation, less than 10% of the Croatian homes are financially protected against the earthquake risk, although there are large areas as Zagreb, Rijeka, Dalmatian Zagora and southern Dalmatia that are particularly exposed to earthquake risk. As a result, insured losses only represent a fraction of the ~EUR 5.56 billion total economic losses announced by the Croatian government.

Representatives of the insurance industry unanimously welcomed the new "Law on Reconstruction of Earthquake Damaged Buildings in the City of Zagreb, Krapina-Zagorje County and Zagreb County", as in their opinion the adopted legal solution sends a correct and clear message to citizens and insured persons, because citizens who had adequate insurance coverage will have a reduced financial burden during reconstruction.

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