Natural disasters: the need for quick intervention

Each year, natural disasters affect millions of persons worldwide, causing billions of euros in damages. Just in 2015, 346 natural disasters affected 98.6 million people worldwide, causing damages worth $66.5 billion*.

Nevertheless, the biggest disasters are not the ones that have affected insurers the most. In 2015, in fact, it was the forest fires that raged across Indonesia for several weeks that had the most repercussions on the local economy. Damages of more than $16 billion, for “only” $250 million of insured losses.

For its part, the winter storm that struck the Eastern coast of the United States in February 2015 caused more than $2 billion of insured losses, but with an economic impact estimated at $3.3 billion.

Cascading consequences of the Kumamoto earthquake

In 2016, the claim potentially affecting insurers and their customers the most occurred on 14 and 15 April 2016, when a series of earthquakes struck Kumamoto prefecture in Japan. The main quake, magnitude 7, was devastating and caused damages to nearly 3900 residences and more than 120 public or industrial buildings. Followed by several mudslides and 14 fires, the earthquake also resulted in significant damage to infrastructures, notably motorways, railways and bridges.

Regional industry was also extensively affected as a result of the earthquake’s consequences on production and on the logistics chain. In fact, many international groups such as Mitsubishi, Fujifilm, Bridgestone, Honda and Toyota were directly impacted by the earthquake and had to discontinue production in order to inspect their production sites, or because of difficulties obtaining components.

Sony Corporation remains one of the companies most affected by the stoppage of its production plant for photographic sensors that manufactures, amongst other things, the new sensors intended to be used in the Apple iPhone 7 that is scheduled for launch in 2017. The company anticipates lost profits in the area of $1 billion.

Though an exact idea of the economic impact caused by these earthquakes will not be available for many months, current estimates indicate that the costs from this disaster should exceed $10 billion.

GM Consultant helps with a large clothing company’s business recovery after the earthquake

In connection with the natural disaster that affected Japan in April 2016, the GM Consultant group was required to act on behalf of European insurers, notably with regard to the damages suffered by several stores and warehouses of a large clothing company.

During our intervention, our experts accompanied the policyholder in order to determine the exact nature of the structural damage affecting the buildings, and assisted with the protective measures needed in order to limit any damages to its inventory.

Thanks to their quick reaction, our loss adjusters were able to provide the policyholder with crucial support that allowed it to quickly resume its activities and to limit the financial impact. Working with insurers and their customers through its presence in France and abroad, the GM Consultant group can provide responses as well as quick and suitable solutions in order to manage claims or large-scale crises.


Thomas Innocenti
Loss adjuster, International French Team Coordinator
GM Consultant Group