Californians’ Biggest Disaster Fear: Earthquakes

By | July 4, 2011

Of the many possible natural disasters that could befall Californians, Golden State residents fear earthquakes the most, according to a recent poll. Statewide, 57 percent of voters cite earthquakes as their greatest threat from nature, more than twice the proportion saying wildfires (23 percent), which is mentioned next most often.

Those fears were followed by tsunami or tidal waves (9 percent), and floods and mudslides (5 percent), the field poll indicated. Fears were influenced by where a voter lived. Earthquake fears were greater in the San Francisco Bay Area (76 percent) and Los Angeles County (66 percent). In other parts of California, earthquakes were mentioned, but fears of wildfire ranked a close second, according to the poll.

The poll, conducted by Field Research Corp. of San Francisco, indicated that Californians believe a major earthquake is more likely to occur in the coming decade, a change from the way they’ve felt in the past. Fifty-six percent of voters now expect an earthquake causing major damage to occur in their area in the next 10 years. Five years ago, only 40 percent of California voters felt that way, the poll indicated.

“Californians are right to worry about the next ‘big one,'” said Glenn Pomeroy, CEO of the California Earthquake Authority. He noted that the U.S. Geological Survey predicts a 99.7 percent chance that a magnitude 6.7 earthquake will strike in California in the next 30 years. “Unfortunately, despite the fact that 57 percent of voters fear an impending earthquake, only about 10 percent of Californians currently have earthquake insurance,” Pomeroy added.

Affordability is one of the primary reasons Californians do not purchase earthquake insurance, the CEA believes. That is why it is working to pass the Earthquake Insurance Affordability Act, is offering insurance agent incentives to sell more earthquake insurance policies, and has created a marketing value program.

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Insurance Journal West July 4, 2011
July 4, 2011
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