Like all of you, I, and everyone at Xactware, have been closely watching the events in Japan. Certainly our hearts go out to the many victims of the earthquake and tsunami. Much of the disaster is still unfolding and the full extent of the damage is still being calculated, but it’s already clear that there has been a significant loss of life and years of rebuilding are ahead.
Our sister company, AIR Worldwide, is estimating the damage in Japan at between $15 billion and $35 billion. Other countries suffered only mild damage, but the tsunami still caused an estimated $40 million in damage to the U.S. west coast with damage in Hawaii expected to reach tens of millions.
It was disasters like this one that spawned the property insurance industry. Most historians trace the beginning to the London Fires of 1666. In the United States, Benjamin Franklin is credited with starting the first property insurance company.
The idea of sharing risk has proven to be one of mankind’s great ideas. Events like these show there is often little that can be done against the great forces of nature. They also show that insurance coverage and the professionals that provide the expertise and resources to rebuild are key to a speedy recovery.