RMS estimates Japan insured losses up to $34 bln

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - The March 11 Japan earthquake and tsunami are likely to have caused up to $34 billion in losses for the global insurance industry, catastrophe modeling company RMS said on Tuesday.

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RMS said the magnitude 9.0 quake and subsequent flooding probably caused $18 billion to $26 billion in property insurance losses, plus $3 billion to $8 billion in losses to the life and health insurance sectors.

RMS is the last of the big three catastrophe modelers to release its loss estimate for the Great Tohoku Earthquake, which killed up to 28,000 people and caused one of the worst nuclear accidents in history.

AIR Worldwide's revised quake and tsunami estimate is $20 billion to $30 billion and Eqecat's range is $12 billion to $25 billion.

At the higher end of the estimates, the quake would go down as the most expensive of its kind for the insurance industry in a generation, and it is already having at least some effect on insurance pricing around the world.

(Reporting by Ben Berkowitz, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)