Property damage has recently become a constant topic not just regionally, but globally. No doubt you have either heard, read, or someone has been talking about the massive earthquake that struck Darfield, New Zealand about 6 months ago on September 4, 2010. The earthquake registered at a 7.1 magnitude. Fortunately, there were not many houses that were not built with reinforced construction, so many fatalities were avoided due this precautionary measure. Aftershocks continued for weeks on with the more notable and most recent 6.3 earthquake to that area which caused much damage to Christchurch, New Zealand. They were not as fortunate as Darfield and did result in more fatalities and more property damage with several buildings that totally collapsed last month on February 22. The structural damage caused is estimated from about $1.5 Billion to $2.5 Billion, U.S.. Not much later (only 5 days later to be exact) Chile then had an earthquake that registerered at 8.8 on the Richter scale which is one of the strongest ever recorded in history before Japan’s quake. That quake in Chile also triggered a Tsunami. Then, on March 11 , Japan is hit with an 8.9 magnitude which is the the world’s fifth-largest since 1900 and the biggest in Japan in 140 years, also triggering a Tsunami extending to the Pacific Ocean which extended to Hawaii bringing the Tsunami not only there but also to the West Coast which turned into high waves by the time it got to California’s coast lines. This quake was so powerful that it actually moved Asia several inches closer to the United States and much of Asia’s fish were swept to Mexico’s shores and fishing streams, which is huge to say the least.
Now, while these events are all worrisome and devastating the question has come up…who’s paying for all of this? If you are a Californian you have no doubt had concerns about the likelihood of a quake coming to California as well. If you have not obtained property earthquake insurance and the important riders necessary for aspects of damage your main policy may not cover, it is very important that you do so now. The New Zealand risk management group, Risk Management Solutions (RMS) said the estimate above does “cover damage to property – residential (including the losses covered by the Earthquake Commission and excess), commercial and industrial – as well as contents and motor. Fortunately New Zealand has stable companies in place to help cover the millions and billions needed for repair, but they cannot cover it all. The Earthquake Commission is covering the residential portions. However, RMS’ estimate does not include losses resulting from damage to infrastructure and public buildings or to uninsured property which will obviously pose another problem. Private business will also suffer greatly, no doubt.
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