The two explosions in Tianjin last week could generate insurance losses of up to 1.5 billion U.S. dollars, Fitch Ratings said on Tuesday.[Special coverage]
Fitch put its estimate at "potentially exceeding 1-1.5 billion U.S. dollars," adding that the high insurance penetration rate in the area could make the blasts "one of the most costly catastrophe claims" for the Chinese insurance sector in the last few years.
Two explosions ripped through a warehouse storing hundreds of tonnes of toxic chemicals last Wednesday night. Death toll from the accident has risen to 114, with 692 people hospitalized and 57 still unaccounted for.
Auto makers who have warehouses close to the blast site were affected. Renault said it lost nearly 1,500 vehicles to conflagration. Volkswagen has temporarily suspended logistics and transportation of vehicles at the port, moving the branch to Shanghai and Guangzhou.
Four aircraft at a heliport, 1,100 meters away from the site, were also destroyed, according to previous reports.
With the incident still developing, Fitch expects the number of reported insurance claim cases to surge further in the coming few weeks.
Shares of insurance firms have been in a slide since Aug. 12. Ping An Insurance plunged 5.1 percent on Tuesday, China Pacific Insurance fell 5.3 percent while China Life Insurance went down 4 percent.