Photo/IllutrationA damaged gymnasium at Inahama Elementary School in Chiba on Sept. 11 (Mizuki Sato)

  • Photo/Illustraion

Typhoon No. 15 will take a steep toll on the nation’s insurance industry after damaging thousands of homes and causing massive power blackouts in the Kanto region.

The total payout for typhoon damage is expected to swell into the several hundreds of billions of yen, according to an estimate by the General Insurance Association of Japan.

“It will be among the all-time worst 10,” an association representative said on Sept. 19.

“Typhoon No. 15 has caused tremendous material damage and affected daily lives with power outages and suspension of water supplies,” said association chairman Yasuzo Kanasugi, who is president of Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Co. “We will undertake the task to quickly pay out on insurance claims to cover the victims’ losses.”

In Chiba Prefecture, where the typhoon hit the hardest, more than 100 people were killed or injured and more than 10,000 homes were damaged.

According to the association and insurance companies, 184,000 insurance claims had been filed with member companies and other insurers as of Sept. 13.

Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance Inc. is expected to pay out 110 billion yen ($101 million).

MS & AD Insurance Group Holdings Inc., which operates Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co. and Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance under its umbrella, is expected to pay out a total of 100 billion yen or so.

The amounts are expected to increase, as the process of filing insurance claims has been disrupted due to widespread power outages, which surpassed 900,000 households at one point.

Insurance companies paid about 310 billion yen, the sixth-biggest payout in history, to cover losses caused by Typhoon No. 24, which hit the Tokyo metropolitan area in fall 2018.

Industry officials said the payout for Typhoon No. 15 losses is expected to match that amount.

To deal with the enormous losses, insurance companies have come up with measures such as beefing up call centers and suspending premium payments.

Policyholders are encouraged to file a claim for losses on the Internet to speed the process along.

Typhoon No. 15 has delivered a one-two punch to the insurance industry.

The Kansai region suffered severe damage from Typhoon No. 21 in September 2018. The resulting insurance claim payments totaled about 1.1 trillion yen, the highest ever, for windstorm and flooding damage.