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Earthquake – How Much Warning?

Earthquake monitoring seismograph

With earthquakes back in the news from Puerto Rico with a 6.4 Magnitude shock and many aftershocks, this got me thinking about how many such events occur every month and what the latest is around warning of these events?

This map shows the USGS data for the last 30 days (from 7th Jan 2020) and indicates 447 earthquake events over 2.5 Magnitude. Clearly there are 100’s of events every year and thankfully only a very few causing problems and make the news.

We have a lot of issues on the planet right now, many caused by global warming with the effects being felt through fire’s, drought, flood and strong winds. Earthquakes can be equally devastating but there is very little warning.

The latest science and work being carried out at USGS with their ShakeAlert system would give people a few seconds to respond to an immanent earthquake.

In a reconstruction, using data from the Magnitude 6.9 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake the ShakeAlert starts sending alerts after 8 seconds of the initial report. For some they would have felt the earthquake by this time, however other would get up to 20 seconds advanced warning on their mobile phones.

What to do with this time? The advice would be to look around you and check you are away from danger of falling objects.

What to do during an earthquake?

If you are indoors when an earthquake hits:

  • Drop down and take cover under a desk or table. Be prepared to hold on until the shaking stops.
  • Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to exit.
  • Stay away from bookcases and other furniture that can fall on you.
  • Stay away from windows and light fixtures.
  • If you are in bed – hold on and stay there. Protect your head with a pillow to protect yourself from flying glass and other debris.
  • If you are in a wheelchair – go to a safe position and lock the wheels. Stay where you are and cover your head and neck with your arms if you are unable to move quickly to a safe location.
  • If you are inside a high-rise – drop, cover and hold on. Avoid windows and other potential hazards. Do not use elevators and be prepared for sprinkler systems and fire alarms to activate.

If you are outdoors during an earthquake:

Drop to the ground in a clear spot away from buildings, trees and power lines. If you are driving – pull over, stop and set your parking brake. Avoid overpasses, bridges, power lines, trees, signs, buildings, vehicles and other things that may fall on your car.

What to do in stadiums, theatre and large venues:

If you are in a stadium or theatre – stay at your seat and protect your head and neck with your arms. Don’t try to leave until the shaking has stopped. Then, walk out slowly, watching for anything that could fall during aftershocks.

What is MIC Global doing about the threat from Earthquakes?

Our approach to insurance products for earthquakes is new and innovative. We are developing a Parametric approach to our products. This means that our products are directly tied to the initial reports and will be triggered for automatic payout when an insured property is affected.

The parametric approach is a way to simplify the insurance process and build cover around the claim. It is based on a set of known rules and when these are triggered, the insurance pays out.

Our vision fully supports our clients growth ambitions by limiting the impact of our services on their processes, whilst delivering essential insurance cover for their customers.

At MIC Global we are focused on changing the way business insurance is developed and processed. We are insurance with AI built in with API’s. We are in the forefront of that change; developing policies by the season, job, by the hour, by the day and by the Km, thus fitting our model to that of the platforms and the way small and micro businesses see risk. We are unbundling business policies so that the cover offered fits with peoples and business needs or the actual job or process being undertaken. Making Business Insurance transactional.