The Big One could be worse than you imagine

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California is a state with more than 2,000 fault lines and there are nearly as many modeled scenarios for “The Big One.”

One worst-case earthquake model envisions a 8.5 magnitude temblor that would stretch the full 800-mile length of the San Andreas Fault.

The EQECAT model, crafted by risk analysis firm CoreLogic, estimates a million homes in California would be destroyed or seriously damaged by the quake and fires and tsunami that could follow. Insured residential losses could reach $36 billion, according to the scenario.

Before the Northridge quake in 1994, roughly 25% of California’s homeowners had earthquake coverage. Today, the number sits at about 10% of homeowners, lower than the rate of earthquake insured homes in Oklahoma.

Public officials have been encouraging both homeowners and business owners to reassess their insurance needs, as well as retrofitting older buildings to improve the chances of surviving an earthquake.

Among the efforts is a major push from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who asked for help from the U.S. Geological Survey to prepare an earthquake readiness plan.

Read about other earthquake model scenarios and efforts to minimize the damage at Leader’s Edge magazine.