The Great East Japan Earthquake: lessons learned, 10 years on

The Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011 and ensuing tsunami took more than 18 000 lives and wreaked untold damage. 

The key takeaways of this edition are:

  • The 2011 earthquake exceeded assumptions of Japan's authorities in terms of magnitude and ground motion intensity.
  • Total economic losses from the quake and ensuing tsunami were the highest ever resulting from any natural catastrophe in the world.
  • The experience led to strengthening of already-high standards of disaster mitigation in Japan.
  • It also prompted insurers to embed secondary perils like tsunami in catastrophe modelling for better risk assessment.
  • Even so, the earthquake protection gap in Japan is USD 25 billion, the second largest in the world.
  • Insurers need to extend their reach if they are to help households and businesses be more resilient against earthquake risk in the future.

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