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Indian insurers – New India Assurance Company Ltd and General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC Re) – are taking stock of their risk exposure in Japan following Friday’s tsunami that hit the country severely. 

“All our branch staff in Tokyo are safe and are not affected by the tsunami. It is too early to estimate the probable loss though the branch has confirmed losses likely to be reported,” Chairman-cum-Managing Director of New India Assurance A. Ramadoss told IANS.

The company has around 40 employees in Japan. According to him, the company’s Japanese branch underwrites a premium of around Rs.150 crore.

India‘s national reinsurer General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC Re) is taking stock of its exposure in reinsuring risks underwritten in Japan following the earthquake and tsunami that Friday hit that country severely.

“We are in the process of collating information. Now we are not in a position to make any statement,” an official of GIC Re told media.

The company’s Chairman and Managing Director Yogesh Lohiya was not available to comment on the likely scenario that would emerge.

Industry officials do not expect any major hardening of reinsurance rates for catastrophic risks because of Japanese tsunami though they agree that the property losses is going to be high as Japan is highly insured nation.

“Such hardening of reinsurance would happen only in the case of aviation or marine/transit losses. Losses to property/life is country specific and there may not be any global hardening of reinsurance rates,” an official of a private non-life insurer told IANS preferring anonymity.

Ramadoss said: “In Japan insurers may increase the premium rates or increase the deductibles – the amount of loss that the insurers would not pay.”

According to him, general insurers in Asia including the Indian companies are in the process of renewing their annual reinsurance contracts.

“Normally, the Asian reinsurance contracts come up for renewal in April. However today (Friday) we are getting e-mails from reinsurers stating they would like to have some more time to quote following the Japanese tsunami,” an official of a government owned insurer told IANS.

According to an industry official, the Indian Ocean tsunami did not affect the general or even the life insurers much as the properties and lives were not insured.

“But in Japan going by the television visuals lots of automobiles, refinery and other property have been damaged. This is bound to affect the primary insurers,” he said.