Earthquake policies spike in July

Earthquake policies spike in JulyThe California Earthquake Authority, the agency that oversees earthquake insurance policies, announced that CEA saw a spike in policyholders following the 6.4- and 7.1-magnitude earthquakes that shook the region July 4-5.

The addition of 23,000 policies in July constitutes the second-largest monthly net increase in CEA’s 23-year history.

“The gain in policies seen after what geologists are calling the Searles Valley earthquake sequence is a net gain that takes into account new purchases and policies renewed during July, less any canceled policies during the month,” said a CEA spokesperson.

For comparison, CEA gained a total of 6,289 policies for the first six months of 2019 combined. The July numbers brought CEA’s total policy count to 1,080,986 as of July 31.

“CEA’s largest monthly gain on record was in September 2017, following hurricanes in the southeastern U.S. and the Caribbean, earthquakes in Mexico and wildfires in California, when CEA had an increase of nearly 26,000 policies.”

“Large, damaging earthquakes like the ones that recently struck Ridgecrest don’t happen very often,” said CEA CEO Glenn Pomeroy. “But when they do, they’re a powerful reminder that earthquakes can happen at any time, anywhere in California, and that we need to get better prepared to recover. If the Ridgecrest earthquakes had occurred under a more densely populated area, such as Los Angeles, the outcome could have been a lot worse for California.”

CEA represented about 2,000 local policy holders when the earthquakes struck. At press time, CEA had not updated how many residents had purchased earthquake insurance.

As of Aug. 26, CEA had received 462 claims resulting from the July earthquakes.

“We observed some damage in Ridgecrest and Trona — cracked walls, damage to mobilehomes, fallen chimneys and some fire damage—but not as much as we might expect for earthquakes of these magnitudes, one of which was the strongest earthquake in California in 20 years,” said CEA Chief Mitigation Officer Janiele Maffei.

“Certainly, the residents who were most affected will be recovering for some time, but it was fortunate that many of the homes in the Ridgecrest area were newer, not on raised foundations, and not as likely to suffer the type of damage that older, unretrofitted houses might.”

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Pictured: Recent earthquakes left new faults and cracked roadways — including Highway 178 East — Courtesy photo

Story First Published: 2019-08-30