For eons earthquake watchers have focused on Southern California and the San Andreas Fault. They’ve dubbed it the “big one” and it’s — according to experts — way overdue.
But also way overdue is an even more dangerous Cascadia subduction zone. The fault line runs 700 miles from Cape Medocino in California to Vancouver Island in Canada. In between are states Oregon and Washington and their major metro areas Portland, Salem, Eugene, Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, Everett, Bellingham and so on.
The subduction zone covers 140,000 square miles and is where the North American plate meets the Juan de Fuca plate. The pressure between the two plates created the Cascade mountain range and the push of Juan de Fuca has the North American plate rising in middle. When it lets go everything West of Interstate 5 will be gone.
That zone is the home of over seven million people. Their homes and businesses are at terrible risk. If — or do we dare say when? — the Cascadia subduction zone gives way, earthquake experts say it will hit between 8.7 and 9.2 on the Richter scale.
That’s major league and will cause enormous damage. As a comparison, the earthquake that hit Japan in 2011 was a 9 on the scale. The quake and the resulting tsunami killed 15,000 and did billions of dollars in damage. Almost all of that damage was uninsured.
For a better explanation of the danger, click here to read an article in the New Yorker magazine — the article that got newspapers and publications all over the Northwest active on the topic.
Here’s where insurance ties into this. Just 10% to 15% of property owners and renters in the subduction zone area carry earthquake insurance. Even more surprising — says Karl Newman of the Northwest Insurance Council — is the increasing publicity not generating more earthquake insurance purchasing.
“You saw an uptick in interest, but the actual [business] doesn’t rise much. Many times people say, ‘I’m not going to get earthquake insurance because it’s too expensive and the deductibles are too big,” he told Olympia, Washington’s The Olympian newspaper.
Newman said the price is usually double a homeowners policy. “If you pay about $600 a year, you could pay $400 to $600 more per year, on average. The deductibles are 10% to 20%, depending on the company that’s writing it.”
Weekly Industry News is also surprised at how little attention media is paying to the need to purchase earthquake insurance. An article published in Portland’s The Oregonian and its online publication OregonLive.com got a reaction from our editor. He contacted the reporter and noted that insurance was not mentioned in the article and offered to connect her with insurance experts that belong to the PIA Western Alliance.
We received no reply.
The focus of reporting these days is how to protect property from a quake. Newman told The Olympian a home retrofit will save 40% to 50% off of premiums.
Source link: Insurance Business America