Catastrophe reinsurance rates will rise across the board following last week's Seattle earthquake, says a Hiscox underwriter.

The quake, which measured 6.8 on the Richter Scale, left one person dead and more than 100 injured.

It caused landslides, cut power off for 17,000 people and brought widespread damage. President George W Bush was forced to declare a state of emergency.

Damien Smith, deputy underwriter for treaty reinsurance at Hiscox, believes all syndicates providing reinsurance will be affected.

Although it is too early to put an exact price on the cost of the earthquake to the insurance division, he estimated it would be in the region of £1bn, with an economic loss of £3bn.

“This will impact some programmes across the reinsurance market. It will help push up rates,” he said.

The earthquake comes in the wake of already rising reinsurance rates. This year some aviation rates have been increased six-fold and on average prices will be pushed up by 25% across the board following a series of natural disasters.