While it’s too early to estimate any potential insured losses, it’s clear that the magnitude 8.9 to 9.1 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that struck the eastern coast of Japan today will have implications for the insurance industry, especially reinsurers.

As the world’s third-largest economy and fourth-largest insurance market, many insurers have a stake in Japan with direct non-life premium income amounting to $104.9 billion in the year ended March 31, 2009. This perceived exposure was evident as the share prices of major reinsurers such as Swiss Re and Munich Re AG dipped in the stock market. A spokesperson for Swiss Re told Insurance Networking News that it’s still too early to make any statement about Swiss Re's exposure with regard to the Japan quake.

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