M7.1 Puebla Mexico Earthquake
9/22/2017 4:00:00 PM
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Update 19/22/2017 4:00:00 PM 
First Posting 9/20/2017 1:00:00 PM 
Posting Date: 9/22/2017 4:00:00 PM

AIR Worldwide estimates that industry insured losses from the M7.1 earthquake that struck central Mexico at 1:15 p.m. local time (18:15 UTC) on September 19, 2017, will be between MXN 13.0 billion and MXN 36.7 billion.

While the M7.1 Puebla earthquake comes only 11 days after the M8.1 earthquake that occurred 650 km to the southeast—and both events were related to the subduction of the Cocos plate beneath the North American plate—the M7.1 event occurred too far north along the subduction zone to be an aftershock of the September 7, 2017, earthquake according to Paul Earle, a seismologist at the USGS. Earle added that most aftershocks are within 100 km of the mainshock.  

The President of Mexico declared a state of emergency for areas impacted by the M7.1 quake. In Mexico City, 52 buildings collapsed, including a 10-unit apartment building, four-story school and a three-story textile factory, and about 500 more buildings were damaged throughout the capital, including 22 hospitals, several churches, and a medical laboratory. The Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, a race track in a public park of the Magdalena Mixhuca Sports City in the northeastern part of Mexico City, has been inspected and will hold the Mexico Grand Prix in late October as planned. Outside the capital in the state of Puebla, the three-story Regional Museum of Puebla, also known as the Museo Casa del Alfeñique, which was built in the 18th century and opened as a museum in 1926, was the most severely damaged building in that state and is thought to be in danger of collapsing.

According to the Federal Electricity Commission, power was restored on the night of September 21 to 4.63 million households and business, representing 95% of those that had lost power after the quake, mostly in Mexico City and in the states of Guerrero, Morelos, Puebla, Oaxaca, and Tlaxcala. Telephone lines were downed and gas mains were ruptured. Schools in the region have been closed until further notice.

There were 273 people confirmed dead on Thursday, September 21: 137 in Mexico City; 73 in Morelos; 43 in Puebla; 13 in Mexico state, six in Guerrero; and one in Oaxaca. Twenty-five of the dead, most of them children, were recovered from a four-story schoolhouse that collapsed in the Coapa district of Mexico City; 21 were recovered from a three-story textile factory in Colona Obrera; 11 were recovered from a church where they had gathered for a baptism. More than 1,800 injuries have been reported. Two hundred people are still unaccounted for.

Loss Estimates

AIR Worldwide estimates that industry insured losses from the M7.1 earthquake that struck central Mexico at 1:15 p.m. local time (18:15 UTC) on September 19, 2017, will be between MXN 13.0 billion and MXN 36.7 billion.

AIR’s loss estimates explicitly capture damage from ground shaking. Note that AIR’s estimates of insured losses are based on assumptions about take-up rates in Mexico (the percentage of properties actually insured against the earthquake peril), about which there is considerable uncertainty. Please note that total economic losses are expected to be much higher than industry insured loss estimates. The range in AIR’s loss estimates reflects uncertainty in earthquake source parameters, modeled ground motion, and damage estimation.

AIR’s modeled insured loss estimates include:

  • Insured physical damage to onshore property (residential, commercial/industrial), both structures and their  contents, and auto
  • Direct business interruption losses

AIR’s modeled insured loss estimates do not include:

  • Losses to uninsured properties
  • Losses to land
  • Losses to infrastructure
  • Losses to CAR/EAR, marine hull, or marine cargo lines of business
  • Indirect business interruption losses
  • Loss adjustment expenses
  • Losses from non-modeled perils, including fire-following, landslide, and liquefaction
  • Demand surge—the increase in costs of materials, services, and labor due to increased demand following a catastrophic event. Demand surge can be applied by AIR software users who want to account for this variable.





M7.1 Puebla Mexico Earthquake
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