Economic loss to Beirut from explosion estimated at $15bn, but marine claims likely to be low

While the economic damage to Beirut as a result of last week’s warehouse explosion in the port has been estimated at around $15bn, the insured loss in the marine sector, for damage to ships, goods and the port itself, was likely to come to less than $250m, reinsurance broker Guy Carpenter said on Monday August 10th.

Overall insured losses – including property damage – from the explosion on August 4th could reach around $3bn, claimed Reuters, citing unnamed sources.

Guy Carpenter said its vessel tracking data showed that 10 vessels were within 1.6km of the blast, and 40 vessels within 10km. “We expect those vessels would have incurred damages,” the broker said in a report. “Many other vessels were within a radius where sporadic damage may have occurred.”

The reinsurance broker said that there was still “substantial uncertainty” around insured losses, but early analysis suggested that hull, cargo and port facility losses would come to less than $250m.

Insurance penetration in Lebanon is generally low, but in the region of the blast the commercial and industrial properties near the port were likely covered by international insurers, Guy Carpenter said.

US insurer Liberty Mutual said it expected claims of between $25m and $50m from the explosion. AXA XL said that it had exposure in Lebanon but it was too soon to give a loss estimate. Other insurers and reinsurers are for the moment taking a similar line.