CROATIA: the Zagreb earthquake drew attention once again on the low insurance coverage for Nat Cat

25 March 2020 — Daniela GHETU
Although it is still early to know the insured losses recorded by Croatia after the 5.5 magnitude earthquake that hit Zagreb on Sunday, it seems that very few of the buildings and homes affected by the event are insured for the earthquake risk, so the impact on the local insurers' business will be modest.

A 5.5 magnitude earthquake that hit Zagreb on Sunday, followed by tens of after shocks in the following days, while the city is dealing with the restrictions imposed by the Coronavirus outbreak, as well as with the bad weather.

Officials said, quoted by the local press, that a 15-year-old girl died in a Zagreb hospital on Monday from injuries she suffered during the earthquake on Sunday. A further 26 people were injured, 17 seriously; 250 houses were damaged, and 59 people had to be housed in temporary shelters. The number of homes affected to a lesser extent seems to reach in the vicinity of 7,000.

The leading insurers in the country said they continue to receive claims, both for structural damages to the buildings and their content. CROATIA Osiguranje has announced it will "give clients all the time they need to report claims" besides the three days deadline recommended by the norms, also recommending to its customers to "take pictures of the damage as soon as possible and report them through the website," thus avoiding visiting the company offices. Representatives of ALLIANZ Zagreb pointed out to the press that earthquake risk insurance needs to be contracted on a larger scale, for the time being most customers acquiring just the standard fire and liability policy.

As a large number of vehicles was also damaged by falling objects or parts of the buildings facades, HUO - the Croatian Insurance Bureau has warned car owners that such losses are covered only by the Motor Hull policies. Yet, each insured should check the policy conditions, as they differ among insurers and it is possible that some of them may not cover earthquake risk.

According to HUO's data, the class "Fire and Natural Damage Insurance" accounts for less than 10% of the market portfolio. In the first months of 2020, GWP for this class have seen a positive trend in comparison with the similar period of 2019. Yet, only about 20% of the Croatian houses are insured for NatCat perils such as earthquake, extreme weather etc.
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