Just over one-third of Turkish households carry compulsory earthquake insurance, according to the latest figures from the Turkish Catastrophe Insurance Pool (DASK).
Although having earthquake insurance in Turkey is now required by law, only 6.3 million of the country’s 17.6 million homes are insured. Starting in August 2012, the government required homeowners to secure an earthquake insurance policy prior to setting up their utilities accounts. DASK said at the time that it had hoped the regulation would boost earthquake insurance policy holders from 3.8 million to 10 million in five years.
Earthquake insurance initially became compulsory after a disastrous earthquake that struck the Marmara region in 1999 that left 17,000 dead, according to the official count.The percentage of earthquake insurance holders varies according to region and province. A total of 44.5 percent of households in the Marmara region carried insurance. In the province of Yalova, which was devastated by the 1999 earthquake, just under 60 percent of households were insured.
Eastern and southeastern Anatolia were reported to have the lowest rates of insured households, with 25.5 and 24 percent, respectively. A full 28.4 percent of homes in the Black Sea region had earthquake insurance policies, while 32.8 percent were insured in the Aegean region, and 35.3 percent in Central Anatolia.
DASK figures reported 435 earthquakes occurred in Turkey between 2000 and 2014, resulting in TL 157 million in insurance payouts. Of this, TL 127.6 million in payouts followed a 2011 earthquake in the eastern province of Van, which resulted in 601 fatalities.
Various major fault lines crisscross Turkey, making the country particularly vulnerable to earthquakes. On Saturday a magnitude 6.5 quake struck close to the Turkish island of Gökçeada, and was felt in parts of Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey, where several hundred injuries were reported.