ANALYST VIEWS: WHAT IS THE LIKELY EXTENT OF THE DAMAGE?

ROBERT MUIR-WOOD | RMS UK
Christchurch city was much closer to the epicentre and damage is reported to be significantly higher than last year. Two buses were crushed by collapsed buildings, contributing to the high death toll, and there are reports of landslides. House reconstruction costs are likely to exceed the Earthquake Commission’s ‘first loss’ limits of £47,000 per building.

JOANNA PARSONS | RBS
The insurance sector is bound to be weaker on the news: all Lloyd's, Bermudian
and European reinsurers will be exposed. However, it depends on the degree of insured damage as if buildings were already damaged in the September quake it may not result in the same size of loss. It means 2011 is starting off as an active year for natural catastrophes.

STUART DUNCAN | PEEL HUNT
This quake looks to have been far worse in terms of loss of life and physical damage than the September quake where loss estimates have been consistently revised upwards. Market estimates currently suggest insured losses amounting to $5.5bn-$6bn, however it seems likely that the market loss will be larger than the September quake.