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Asian News - China: Govt estimates insured losses from Tianjin blasts at US$1bln

Source: Asia Insurance Review | Mar 2016

China’s State Council, the country’s Cabinet, has described the 12 August explosions in Tianjin Port last year as a man-made disaster that had caused CNY6.87 billion (US$1.04 billion) in damage, according to state news agency Xinhua.
   In a report, the State Council said that the blasts killed 165 people, injured 798 and led to 8 people being missing. A total of 304 buildings, 12,428 vehicles and 7,533 containers were damaged or destroyed.
   The report, released on 5 February, said that the disaster was the result of a culture of mismanagement at a chemical warehouse and lax oversight by regulators. It said that the explosions occurred when an improperly stored chemical became too dry and ignited, setting fire to nearby containers full of explosive substances. 
   Officials vowed to punish 123 government workers, including five at the provincial level, in connection with the blasts, citing dereliction of duty. Another 49 people are under investigation, many of them employees of Rui Hai International Logistics, which operated the ill-fated warehouse.
   Officials said that Rui Hai had committed a series of safety violations, including illegally building a freight yard, illegally storing hazardous materials and showing “inept safety management”.
   The Chinese government’s loss estimate is lower than most estimates provided by other parties. The incident has been billed as the largest man-made loss to ever occur in Asia. Credit Suisse analysts said that the total insurance losses could amount to between $1 billion and $1.5 billion. Reinsurance broker Guy Carpenter said that insurance losses for buildings, cargo, containers and property as a result of the explosions could total up to $3.3 billion. The International Union of Marine Insurers has estimated that the insured losses resulting from the explosions are likely to amount to $5-6 billion. Some estimates included estimates of contamination and cleanup-related expenses.
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