New Study Predicts Double Katrina Damage If Hayward Fault Fails

Damage estimates hit $210 billion

A major earthquake hitting the Hayward fault is one of the biggest worries for anyone living from Berkeley down to San Jose.

Now, there is even more reason to worry.

A new insurance risk analyst says the economic loss from a magnitude 7.0 earthquake on the fault could cause a larger economic loss for the Bay Area than Hurricane  Katrina caused for New Orleans.

The dollar figure is $210 billion.  That's much higher than the $125 billion in damage caused by Katrina.

Even worse, only about 7 or 8 percent of the economic losses  caused by an earthquake on the Hayward fault, which would be focused along  the East Bay's urban core, would be covered by insurance, according to Mary Lou Zoback of Risk Management Solutions.

"We're talking about huge potential losses to private businesses  and homes and we're not even including public buildings and infrastructure,"  Zoback said.

Seismologist Brad  Aargaard Aargaard said news simulations, which incorporate dozens of  scenarios, could show city planners and emergency managers the various  patterns of shaking for which they need to prepare.

The magnitude of earthquake and where the rupture starts have a  strong influence on the impact of a quake, he said.

Zoback said that although the predictions about the likelihood of  a large earthquake are scary, the good news is that the Bay Area is better  prepared to deal with one that most regions are.

Contact Us