Monday, November 23, 2015

China's quake-prone Sichuan insures buildings against earthquakes

Quake-prone Sichuan Province in southwest China on Monday started a trial plan to insure buildings against earthquakes and related hazards.

The insurance will cover damage caused by earthquakes of 5-magnitude and higher as well as secondary disasters, such as landslides, cave-ins, fires or explosions that occur within 72 hours of an earthquake.
The insurance plan is being piloted in Sichuan's Leshan city, where a rural building can be insured for 20,000 yuan (3,130 US dollars) at the cost of 76 yuan per year and urban buildings for 50,000 yuan at 60 yuan per year.

Rural residents can opt for coverage up to 60,000 yuan for each building while the highest coverage for an urban building is 150,000 yuan.

Fees for rural buildings are higher as they are generally less earthquake resistant than urban counterparts. However, it will not increase the burden on rural residents as the insurance fees are heavily subsidized, Zhao Yanliang, chief of Sichuan's Insurance Regulation Department, said.

The local government will subsidize 60 percent of the insurance fees for most residents. Needy families' fees are fully subsidized, Zhao said.

The provincial government has provided 20 million yuan in initial funds for the insurance, which will be jointly run by three Chinese insurance companies led by the People's Insurance Company of China (PICC).

Sichuan will roll out the insurance across the province when the pilot program proves successful, Zhao said.

Sichuan, one of China's most quake-prone provinces, has seen several deadly earthquakes in recent years, including one that killed almost 70,000 people in 2008.

 Xinhua -

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