Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- The magnitude 6.2 earthquake that struck Italy’s Umbria region this week, killing at least 250 people, is estimated to have cost the country anywhere from $1 billion to $11 billion in economy-related losses. The insurance bill will be a lot lower.

The level of property and casualty cover taken out by Italians is among the lowest of the industrialized countries. In 2014, insurance as a proportion of gross domestic product in the country was 1.9 percent, according to data compiled by Swiss Re AG. That compares with 3.3 percent in France, 3.4 percent in Germany and 8.1 percent in the Netherlands, separate data from PricewaterhouseCoopers show.

“It’s very tragic that most people are not insured, although it wasn’t a secret that this region could be shaken by a quake,” Stefan Schuermann, an analyst at Vontobel Securities AG, said in a telephone interview.

Only about 2 percent of the economic loss from a 2009 earthquake in Italy’s Abruzzo region was insured, Schuermann said, when a 6.2 magnitude temblor left 308 people dead. Italy will be able to apply for aid from the European Solidarity Fund within 12 weeks after the catastrophe. Broker Aon Benefield cited an estimate of as much as $11 billion in economic damage, while hazard-analysis company Kinetic Analysis Corp. forecast at least $1 billion.

Assicurazioni Generali SpA, Italy’s largest insurer, and Germany’s Allianz SE said they expect claims to be limited because most of the homes in the largely residential areas were not covered for earthquakes.

To contact the reporters on this story: Sarah Jones in London at sjones35@bloomberg.net, Jan-Henrik Förster in Zurich at jforster20@bloomberg.net. To contact the editors responsible for this story: Neil Callanan at ncallanan@bloomberg.net, Michael Shanahan, Andrew Blackman

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