August 14, 2015

Missouri insurance regulator says state now faces $100 billion in uninsured property for earthquake damage

Division of Market Regulation Director Angela Nelson featured at NAIC national earthquake forum

Jefferson City, Mo. - Angela Nelson, director of the Division of Market Regulation for the Missouri Department of Insurance, said the state now faces an earthquake coverage crisis and that the value of uninsured residential property in the state is nearing $100 billion. She said Missouri is at a tipping point because the amount of uninsured property will soon eclipse the amount of insured residential properties in the state, which is currently estimated at $101 billion.

"We have been watching the earthquake market closely for decades," Nelson said. "We've watched rates rise, deductibles increase and major companies leave the earthquake market. Unfortunately, all of these factors mean we are seeing the number of insured properties in Missouri dwindle.  In our view, we are at a critical juncture because the amount of uninsured residential property may jeopardize our state's ability to fully recover from an earthquake event."

Nelson helped lead a national forum today (Friday) entitled "All Things Earthquake" at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Summer National Meeting.

During the forum, Nelson cited the department's 2015 Earthquake Report. She said since 2000, 64 insurers have exited Missouri's earthquake market. On average, premiums in the six counties that comprise the New Madrid area increased by more than 500 percent between 2000-2014, and in one county by nearly 700 percent. In 2000, more than 60 percent of homes in the New Madrid area had earthquake coverage. By 2014, the rate of coverage had plummeted to 20 percent.