Five months after the earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeastern Japan, some areas are back to normal while others are characterized by temporary housing, piles of rubble and businesses that can't afford to rebuild, with many people still unaccounted for. With a population of 5.7 million, more than 20,000 people were killed and 500,000 suffered damage from the tsunami in the wake of the 9.0 magnitude earthquake.
We spoke with Paul Atkinson, managing director of the insurance division of Cornes & Co. Ltd., and Yoshiro (“J.R.”) Hyokawa, senior vice president of Kyoritsu Insurance Brokers of Japan Co. Ltd., both members of the Assurex Global network, about the state of recovery in earthquake-stricken Japan.
Q: What is the current status of rebuilding in the earthquake-stricken area?
Q: Which businesses are rebuilding more quickly?
Q: Have there been any problems getting equipment and material, or site surveys for claims?
Q: What sort of earthquake-resistant building standards are mandatory, and do you think the March quake will result in fine tuning these requirements?
Q: Are you experiencing any problems with insurers regarding claims denials or speed of processing that might be holding up the building process?
Q: Renewals were a problem after the quake. Does pricing still look high?
Hyokawa: Right after the event, insurers in Japan, including foreign insurers, announced: