Losses from a magnitude 6.3 earthquake that struck Christchurch, New Zealand Feb. 21 (Feb. 22 local time) could total as much as $12 billion, according to one estimate cited in a note to clients from a JP Morgan Chase & Co. analyst.

If losses reach that high for the quake, the second to hit the city in six months, it would fall within the Top 10 most costly world insurance losses since 1970.

Catastrophe modeler AIR Worldwide said losses from the magnitude 6.3 earthquake are expected to be between $3.5 billion and $11.5 billion. The estimate includes damage to property, contents and direct business-interruption losses.

Hurricane Katrina in 2005 is the world’s costliest insurance loss at more than $71 billion. If the losses from this New Zealand earthquake reach $12 billion, it would rank eighth, in front of 2005’s Hurricane Rita at about $11.1 billion and behind 2005’s Hurricane Wilma at about $13.8 billion, according to data compiled by the Insurance Information Institute.

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