The April explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico left 11 workers dead, released huge quantities of oil into the Gulf and disrupted whole industries along the Gulf Coast, such as fishing and tourism. Yet the disaster is not expected to have much effect on the insurance industry or the premiums paid by companies outside the petrochemical industry.

"Having just completed the July 1 renewal cycle, we've seen little impact on client pricing and terms and conditions, except for certain energy-related companies that have offshore or water operations," says Dean Klisura, U.S. risk practices leader at insurance brokerage Marsh.

Current estimates of the total losses stemming from the spill range from $50 billion to as high as $100 billion. But BP, which owns 65% of the project, is self-insured, and estimates of the losses that are covered by insurance top out at $3.5 billion to $4 billion.

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