Japan quake property damage could total $4.7 billion

A worker controls a backhoe beside collapsed houses in Mashiki, Kumamoto prefecture on April 19, 2016.
A worker controls a backhoe beside collapsed houses in Mashiki, Kumamoto prefecture on April 19, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (Reuters) - Economic property damage from last week's earthquakes in Japan could cost up to US$3.5 billion (S$4.71 billion), modelling firm RMS said on Thursday (April 21).

The death toll has reached 48 from last week's earthquakes in the Kumamoto area of southwestern Japan. The first quake hit late last Thursday and the largest, at magnitude 7.3, some 27 hours later.

RMS said the losses could range from US$2.5-3.5 billion. Its estimates did not include business interruption, damage to infrastructure or damage to Kumamoto Castle, it said in a statement.

Economic damage refers to both insured and uninsured properties.

AIR Worldwide said earlier on Thursday that insurance losses from property damage from the largest of the two earthquakes could be as much as US$2.9 billion.