The biggest earthquake ever? San Francisco doesn’t even make the top 15! Useful tips for preparing

The biggest earthquake ever? San Francisco doesn’t even make the top 15! Useful tips for preparing

This week marks the 104th anniversary of the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. It prompted the largest relief effort in the United States, even bigger than Katrina. But, it didn’t even make the list of the 15 largest earthquakes ever recorded.

In 1964, Prince William’s Sound, Alaska had a 9.2 which was the largest ever recorded in US history. But take this! On the list of the top 15 most powerful earthquakes of all time, ever recorded anywhere, 12 occurred along the coast of Alaska! The largest earthquake of all time occurred in 1960 in Valdivia, Chile – the 9.4 caused flooding and a volcanic eruption. A recent earthquake news video stated that seismologists record over 27,000 earthquakes in the US each year! (most barely detectable but an indication of potential).

The US Geological Survey estimates that the next San Francisco earthquake will likely exceed $390 billion in damage. What about the seismic zone that runs through all of California? Who’s to say some other area along the fault won’t be devastated before SF ever gets hit? Does anyone else feel like seismic and volcanic activity has increased in recent years? What about the probability of a life altering natural disaster in your area? Is this fact a real possibility? Would you bet on it? Well, you are… past disaster performance is always an indicator of future potential.

What type of hazard/exposure does your area suffer from? Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, severe storms, infestations? Incredibly, most San Francisco residents are not concerned about their exposure to harm and risk. Does your business have locations there? Do your customers have locations there? Do your vendors have locations there? The disruption to the US economy, insurance industry and financial services will be staggering when the next San Francisco earthquake hits. It can seriously affect you even if you are not there. How can you prepare?

An assessment of your risk exposure is essential. Not only should you have a plan to deal with how it will affect you, your business and your employees, but consider the following: irreplaceable documents, historical matters, intellectual and creative property, documents of insurance claim, etc. they may be the ones that allow your business to reopen if they are ground zero. It’s not an earthquake story, but consider this a story about loss…

A sad insurance story

Make copies and keep them elsewhere

In 2009, two devastating fires occurred in Santa Barbara, California. One took out the home of a highly successful businessman, politician and passionate collector whose base of operations was his home office. In the fire he lost bronze sculptures of all sizes (the fire got so hot that a couple of the life-size carvings melted into a pool of molten metal!), numerous works of art on paper and paintings and everything which is accompanied by a well-furnished house. This man was well insured, on paper, with AIG (now Chartis).

The problem was that in the fire, all the files, receipts, photographs and records of the art collection went up in smoke. This meant that the owners could not easily produce for their insurance company

• document how much they had paid,

• document and qualify the condition

• demonstrate the level of quality

• document the provenance (history of the work of art)

These four missing “details” for each artwork meant that the owner had nothing to do for the insurance claim, other than an inventory sheet with minimal descriptions that was submitted to the insurance company . And the fight began…

After a year, three insurance agents, a couple of lawyers, a couple of independent adjusters and a lot of frustration later, the matter is still not settled and the total settlement amount will surely be much less to what the owners consider to be appropriate or justified.

Devastation is at the heart of any natural disaster. But the idea of ​​”total loss” by everyone is a rare occurrence. Usually, there is an “epicenter” of devastation but there is also a wide path of affected people around the impact zone who are only marginally affected. So it always pays to be prepared.

Even in the event of a total loss, there are some very important things you can do to protect yourself and reduce your risk. Being better prepared in this particular sad situation could not have saved the content. However, copies of photos, receipts, ratings, etc. stored in a remote location would have empowered this employer to get response quickly after the disaster. “Redundancy” is a term used in business when multiple copies are kept in different locations for this reason.

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