AIR Estimates Insured Losses from M7.8 Ecuador Earthquake at Between USD 325 Million and USD 850 Million

For Immediate Release:

AIR Estimates Insured Losses from M7.8 Ecuador Earthquake at Between
USD 325 Million and USD 850 Million

BOSTON, April 21, 2016 - Catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide estimates that industry insured losses from the M7.8 earthquake that struck Ecuador's central coast on April 16 will be between USD 325 million and USD 850 million. AIR Worldwide is a Verisk Analytics (Nasdaq:VRSK) business.

Ecuador continues to take stock of the casualties and widespread losses resulting from a major earthquake that struck the country's central coast last week.

"The April 16 quake struck near the coast of Ecuador at 6:58 p.m. local time and was estimated at M7.8 by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), with a depth of 19 km (11.8 miles)," said Dr. Arash Nasseri, senior engineer at AIR Worldwide. "According to the USGS, the megathrust earthquake occurred as the result of shallow thrust faulting on or near the plate boundary between the Nazca and Pacific plates."

According to the Ecuador's Secretariat for Risk Management, which is concerned with risk reduction and emergency and disaster management, 570 people have been killed, and more than 4,600 injured. More than 1,100 buildings are reported to have been destroyed and more than 800 damaged. Other impacts include lack of running water, power, and communications systems, as well as damage to highways, bridges, and the closure of Manta Airport. A national "State of Exception" for Ecuador and states of emergency for six of the country's worst-hit provinces-Esmeraldas, Los Ríos, Manabí, Santa Elena, Guayas, and Santo Domingo- were declared by President Rafael Correa.

Dr. Nasseri continued, "Seismic hazard in Ecuador is driven primarily by the Nazca subduction zone, which is located just offshore of western South America. This subduction zone has led to uplift of the Andes mountain range and has produced some of the largest earthquakes in the world, including the largest earthquake on record, the 1960 M9.5 earthquake in southern Chile."

AIR's loss estimates explicitly capture damage from ground shaking. Note that AIR's estimates of insured losses are based on assumptions about take-up rates in Ecuador (the percentage of properties actually insured against the earthquake peril), about which there is considerable uncertainty. Please note that total economic losses are expected to be much higher than industry insured loss estimates. The range in AIR's loss estimates reflects uncertainty in the slip distribution at the fault, modeled ground motion, and damage estimation.

AIR's insured loss estimates reflect:

  • Insured physical damage to onshore property (residential, commercial/industrial), both structures and their contents, and auto
  • Direct business interruption losses 

The loss estimates do not reflect:

  • Losses to uninsured properties
  • Losses to land
  • Losses to infrastructure
  • Losses to CAR/EAR, Marine Hull, or Marine Cargo lines of business
  • Indirect business interruption losses
  • Loss adjustment expenses
  • Losses from non-modeled perils, including fire-following and landslide
  • Demand surge-the increase in costs of materials, services, and labor due to increased demand following a catastrophic event. Demand surge can be applied by AIR software users who want to account for this variable.

About AIR Worldwide
AIR Worldwide (AIR) provides catastrophe risk modeling solutions that make individuals, businesses, and society more resilient. AIR founded the catastrophe modeling industry in 1987, and today models the risk from natural catastrophes and terrorism globally. Insurance, reinsurance, financial, corporate, and government clients rely on AIR's advanced science, software, and consulting services for catastrophe risk management, insurance-linked securities, site-specific engineering analyses, and agricultural risk management. AIR Worldwide, a Verisk Analytics (Nasdaq:VRSK) business, is headquartered in Boston with additional offices in North America, Europe, and Asia. For more information, please visit

Media Contact:
Kevin Long
AIR Worldwide