Earthquake Insurance Becoming More Popular

PROVO, Utah (AP) - A February earthquake in Nevada has sparked
interest in earthquake insurance among Utah County residents.

"We've done a lot more quoting," said Ben Torgerson, an Allstate insurance representative in Saratoga Springs. "I think the Wells earthquake was a wake-up call for people. They are seeing that things like that can happen in this region. When we think of earthquakes, we think of the West Coast, California."

A 6.0 earthquake damaged hundreds of homes near Wells, Nevada,
on Feb. 21.

A portion of Wells High School, which was damaged in the quake,
reopened for the first time this month. The rest of the school will be under construction through summer.

Kyle Fuller, a Farmers insurance representative in Orem, said he
normally gets once call or less per month about earthquake insurance. However, since the earthquake he has received as many as 50 calls about buying earthquake insurance.

Fuller said most people usually don't buy earthquake insurance because of its cost, the belief that an earthquake won't happen in Utah or that the federal government would help in an emergency.

But since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, fewer people have been willing to rely on the belief in government help, Fuller said.

"I think before Katrina, people saw FEMA as the answer to getting a house rebuilt," he said. Fuller said the largest factor that keeps people from buying earthquake insurance, though, is its cost, which can double the price of homeowner insurance. Deductibles for earthquake insurance, usually set at 5 or 10 percent of the cost of rebuilding, are higher than normal home coverage.

However, after the earthquake more people are considering it a
necessity.

State Farm is also reporting a spike in interest since the Wells quake, said spokeswoman Cheryl Willis-Blakes.

"We have seen a steady increase in requests" she said. "We believe it is in direct relation to the earthquake."
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Information from: The Daily Herald, http://www.heraldextra.com

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-04-26-08 1719EDT


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