Southeast Missouri Earthquake Insurance Costs Rise 816% Over 20 Years | national news

(The Center Square) – Many eastern Missouri residents likely checked their earthquake insurance after a magnitude 2.8 quake on April 29.

Three days later, the Missouri Department of Commerce and Insurance (DCI) released a new earthquake insurance market report showing historic lows in insurance coverage in the highest risk areas of the state. Residences covered by earthquakes in the New Madrid area – Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscot, Dunklin, Stoddard and Scott in southeastern Missouri – fell from 60.2% in 2000 to 11.4% in 2021. During this period, earthquake insurance premiums increased by 816%.

While the price and lack of availability of insurance are likely factors in declining coverage, the DCI report says another potential reason is that some consumers think they already have coverage. In the Saint-Louis region, near the epicenter of Friday’s quake, between 34 and 53% of residences have seismic coverage, compared to between 8 and 16% in New Madrid.

DCI’s latest report found that the average annual homeowner’s insurance premium for earthquake coverage is $285 in St. Louis and $589 in New Madrid.

Julie Dutton, a scientist with the United States Geological Survey’s National Earthquake Information Center, said it was difficult to determine the extent of damage to homes and businesses in earthquakes of different magnitudes.

“It’s such a difficult question to answer because you have so many variables,” Dutton said. “You have the depth of the earthquake and the type of ground movement as well as the types of structures in the area. Some masonry collapses before other structures. There really is no quantifiable answer.

Consumer research conducted by DCI, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ Center for Insurance Policy and Research, and the University of Missouri’s Disaster and Community Crisis Center found that many homeowners in southeast Missouri don’t realize not that their current standard insurance policies do not cover damage. caused by earthquakes.

“Despite our best efforts, earthquake coverage in Missouri’s highest-risk areas has fallen to an all-time low, and the gap between the insured and uninsured continues to grow,” said Chlora Lindley. -Myers, director of DCI, in a statement announcing the report.

The DCI estimates economic losses at $300 billion if a major earthquake occurs in Missouri.

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