The Northridge, CA, Earthquake 20 Years After: Facts, Figures and Perspectives
January 10, 2014
Northridge at 20
Damaged portion of the Golden State Freeway at Gavin Canyon, January 17, 1994.
Affecting much of southern California, the Northridge, California, earthquake of January 17, 1994 was the costliest earthquake in U.S. history in terms of insured losses (both actual and adjusted for inflation). The event, which triggered the fastest ground acceleration rates (intensity of shaking) ever recorded up to that time, caused 57 fatalities, approximately 8,800 injuries, and more than $20 billion dollars in property losses (2013 USD) to buildings and public infrastructure.
As 20 years have passed since the Northridge earthquake, numerous advances have changed how we deal with seismic activity in developed areas. Advances in civil and structural engineering, as well as emergency preparedness and rescue efforts have helped to mitigate the human toll of earthquakes. More effective communications, and widespread use of digital media and the Internet in particular, have fostered greater awareness of earthquake safety, and have changed how people share and consume information before, during and after catastrophes. Yet, in spite of these advances (or maybe because of them), fewer than 10 percent of California property and business owners today opt to purchase earthquake insurance coverage.
On the anniversary of the Northridge earthquake, the Insurance Information Institute offers resources, facts and statistics on earthquakes and insurance.
THE TEN MOST COSTLY WORLD EARTHQUAKES AND TSUNAMIS BY INSURED LOSSES, 1980-2013 (1)
- Earthquakes: Risk and Insurance Issues
- Catastrophes: Insurance Issues
- White Paper: California Earthquake Authority
Facts and Statistics
- Preparing for an Earthquake
- In Case of an Earthquake
- Recovering from an Earthquake
- The San Francisco Earthquake of 1906: An Insurance Perspective
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