With some time to assess the situation, insured losses from the Napa Valley earthquake may end up a little more reasonable than initially thought.
Catastrophe modeling firm RMS predicted that insured losses from the Aug. 24 earthquake will not surpass $250 million. In the initial aftermath of the event, which reached magnitude 6.1, early insured-loss estimates from firms such as EQECAT hit the $500 million to $1 billion range or higher.
The revised number comes, in part, from a concentrated damage pattern and the limited earthquake insurance penetration in the region, RMS said in a Sept. 2 release.
“RMS reconnaissance teams found that the damage from the South Napa Earthquake was within expectations given the magnitude and location of the earthquake,” RMS said. The company went onto note that most of the damage was “extremely localized within Napa County,” that there were few instances of post-earthquake fires or sprinkler leakage, and that most of the businesses hit by the earthquake reopened within a week, following repairs and cleanup efforts.
“Most area wineries were impacted in some way – primarily by storage barrel damage – but are now open for business,” RMS said.
Additionally, regions hit by the earthquake but further from Napa, such as Sonoma and Yountville, suffered relatively limited damage, RMS said.
Even so, a number of post-earthquake issues remain. RMS noted that downtown Napa, for example, has a number of “severely damaged, unreinforced masonry structures.” Also nearby Vallejo is dealing with a number of older buildings and historic structures that sustained heavy damage.