October 22, 2014

Insurance regulator encourages Missourians to consider earthquake insurance following Great Central U.S. "Shakeout" exercise

Earthquake insurance market contracting, but coverage still affordable

Jefferson City, Mo. - The Great Central U.S. "Shakeout" exercise has passed, but it doesn't mean Missourians should stop thinking about earthquake preparation. The Missouri Department of Insurance is encouraging policyholders to follow up with their insurance agents to see if their property is covered by earthquake insurance.  Most policies do not include this coverage, which must be purchased separately.

"The Shakeout exercise is a great reminder for homeowners to review their policies for earthquake coverage," said John M. Huff, director of the department. "Consumers who aren't covered are encouraged to buy this extra protection for their homes, businesses and belongings."

Missouri is home to the New Madrid Seismic Zone, centered in southeast Missouri and the nation's most active earthquake zone east of the Rocky Mountains. At least three of the largest earthquakes recorded in the continental United States are believed to have occurred in that area from 1811 to 1812 - the largest occurred on Feb. 7, 1812.

"The availability of earthquake coverage is a growing challenge in our state," Huff said.  "We continue to work with the industry to advance private sector improvements to the market for earthquake insurance. Unfortunately, the number of companies offering coverage is declining. We know deductibles are rising substantially and there is a decline in both coverage options and availability in some areas, particularly southeast Missouri."

The department lists the companies that offer earthquake coverage in Missouri at insurance.mo.gov/consumers/home/EQTable.php. Consumers with questions about earthquake coverage are encouraged to call the Insurance Consumer Hotline at 800-726-7390.