Atlas Magazine March 2023

Earthquake: natural disaster and risk management

Turkey is particularly exposed to and known for its seismic activity, which is much higher than the world average.
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The terrible earthquake of 6 February 2023 is a rare geological phenomenon not only because of its intensity and the number of victims it claimed, but above all because it consisted of two distinct disasters separated by about ten hours, the first with a magnitude of 7.8 and the second with 7.5.

In terms of intensity, the first earthquake of 6 February is the second most violent recorded in Turkey since that of 17 August 1668 (Lake Ladik, Anatolia), with a magnitude of 8.

Other particularities, this disaster is the 48th event of this kind in Turkey, of a magnitude higher than 4 since 1 January 2000. It is also the deadliest earthquake in the country after the one in Cilicia (Anatolia) in 1268.

Standing among the most devastating natural disasters, earthquakes have always been among absolute exclusions imposed by insurers, with damage caused by such events being most often covered by the States.

Uninsurable risk for some, subject of a national policy for others, the earthquake risk is increasingly becoming the subject of arrangements between the State and insurers. Consequently, after the Izmit earthquake of 17 August 1999, the Turkish authorities set up the "Turkish Catastrophe Insurance Pool" (TCIP), which established a two-level coverage program, namely a mandatory insurance policy managed by the TCIP and an optional policy offered on a complementary basis by insurers.

Logical construction adding public and private capacities complemented by earthquake resistant construction standards. The scheme is perfect. Yet, it is still necessary that appropriate provisions are voted by legislative bodies and enforced on the ground of reality.

Atlas Magazine N°199 March 2023

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