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RMS Estimates Insured Losses from the South Napa, California Earthquake Will Not Exceed $250 Million

Earthquake damage to the California building stock was as expected for the M6.0 moderate magnitude event; most area businesses, including wineries, reopened within a week

NEWARK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--RMS, the world’s leading catastrophe risk management firm, estimates that insured losses from the August 24, 2014 South Napa Earthquake will not exceed $250 million. The loss estimate reflects the combination of observed damage patterns in combination with the limited earthquake insurance penetration in the region.

RMS releases loss estimates only after it has gathered enough information to make an informed assessment, which often includes ground reconnaissance and detailed modeling analyses.

RMS reconnaissance teams found that damage from the South Napa Earthquake was within expectations given the magnitude and location of the earthquake. After surveying areas affected by the earthquake, including Napa County, as well as parts of Solano and Sonoma counties, key observations included:

  • The majority of damage was extremely localized within Napa County.
  • Primary damage was due to ground shaking with minimal observations of fire following earthquake or earthquake sprinkler leakage. In addition, little liquefaction or lateral spreading was observed.
  • The majority of severely damaged unreinforced masonry structures were concentrated in downtown Napa.
  • Unreinforced masonry chimney failures were observed across the surveyed regions.
  • In the Browns Valley section of Napa, residential damage was concentrated along the fault trace and included slippage from foundations and cracks in walls and garages.
  • In Vallejo, older buildings and historic structures – generally those constructed before seismic design principles were adopted – sustained much of the damage.
  • In regions further afield, such as downtown Sonoma and Yountville, damage was limited. A few high-value losses took place, including structural damage to a monastery in Oakville.
  • The majority of businesses impacted by the earthquake reopened within a week of the event, following repairs and cleaning efforts. Most area wineries were impacted in some way – primarily by storage barrel damage – but are now open for business.

Experts on earthquakes and catastrophe risk management are available for comment by contacting pr@rms.com.

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Cynthia Horiguchi, +1 510-320-9770
Alexia Russell, +44 77 88 394 219