Economic losses from flash floods and mudslides that have devastated parts of southern Japan in the past two weeks are likely to exceed $1bn, according to an early estimate from Aon.

“Total economic losses were anticipated to be well into the hundreds of millions [of dollars]; likely higher,” the broker said.

The historic flooding has left more than 141 people dead, making it the most lethal flooding event since 1983.

Flood waters reached 5 meters in places, shutting down a number of car and electronics manufacturing facilities.

“With damage assessments ongoing, it remains too preliminary to provide any economic or insured loss estimate at this time,” Aon said.

“However, the scope of damage to physical property, vehicles, and infrastructure alone suggests the financial cost reaching substantially into the hundreds of millions of dollars (USD), and almost certainly higher,” the broker went on.

It said that in Japan flood cover tended to be bundled with with homeowner or commercial property insurance policies

“There is likely to be some insured business interruption losses as well given the multi-day shutdowns for some manufacturing facilities.”

Car manufacturers Toyota, Mazda and Mitsubishi have all halted production in a number of plants around the country.

Meanwhile, electronics firm Panasonic had to shutter operations after one of its factories was flooded causing a power cut. Brewing company Asahi has also closed one of its factories.