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Moody's: Japan Radiation Impact Unclear

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Japanese life insurance policies seldom contain nuclear, biological or radiological exclusions, according to analysts at Moody’s Investors Service.

The analysts at Moody’s, New York, say in a response to questions they are getting about the situation in Japan that they still think the Great Tohoku Earthquake that struck Japan March 11, the resulting tsunamis, and the many significant earthquakes that have hit Japan since March 11 will cause the equivalent of about $4 billion to $5 billion in additional life and health claims.

That amount is “manageable for life insurers relative to their capital and, in most cases, their earnings capacity,” the analysts say.

But Japan also is facing difficulties with nuclear reactors.

Japanese property-casualty insurance policies contain exclusions for nuclear accidents, but life policies usually do not, the Moody’s analysts say.

“Over the long term, the impact is less clear as to whether higher radiation exposure will escalate life, medical and cancer claims,” the analysts say.

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