Seattle’s Safeco Field Insurance Triples

December 21, 2001

While the Seattle Mariners made a huge leap on the baseball diamond this past season, the cost to insure Safeco Field tripled.

According to a report in The Seattle Times, over a three-year period, the annual premium on a $100 million earthquake policy went from $71,000 in 1999 to $241,000 in 2001. During that same time period, the deductible went from $100,000 to $11 million.

Experts point to the combination of the Nisqually earthquake on Feb. 28 and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that hammered the insurance industry and made for some major league projections about rates for buildings large and small.

As defined in the lease between the Mariners and the Public Facilities District (PFD), the public agency that owns the stadium, the ballclub must allocate around $60,000 to buy earthquake insurance.

With the recent jump in rates, Mariners executives and the PFD started discussing ways to split the bill.

Earlier this month, the PFD chose to contribute $100,000 for earthquake insurance. The money will be taken from the $700,000 annual rent for Safeco Field paid by the team.

The Mariners chipped in with $191,000 to the PFD’s contribution to buy a $200 million policy, also with an $11 million deductible.

A Mariners spokeswoman commented that besides industry-wide woes post-Sept. 11, the Nisqually earthquake sent tremors among the confidence of insurance adjusters.

The building received about $400,000 of superficial damage. Some televisions and bookcases fell, and the brick facade along First Avenue South required patching.

The Mariners paid for all repairs because the damage fell under the $1 million deductible at that time.

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