San Bruno Explosion

A natural gas explosion on a PG&E pipeline last Thursday in San Bruno, California, killed four people, injured a number of others and destroyed more than 35 homes.

Our colleagues at the Insurance Information Network of California (IINC) report that insurance adjusters are already on the ground at the explosion site.

I.I.I. president Dr. Robert Hartwig estimates that insured losses from the disaster could reach into the tens of millions of dollars.

On Friday, PG&E said it has insurance that would cover nearly $1 billion in damages caused by the explosion. An article in the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal has more on this.

In its 8K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), PG&E Corp said:

The utility maintains liability insurance for damages caused by fire in the approximate amount of $992 million in excess of a $10 million deductible. Depending on the final outcome of the investigation, and if insurance recoveries are unavailable or insufficient to cover the losses, PG&E Corporation’s and the Utility’s financial condition or results of operations could be materially adversely affected.†

Meanwhile, the San Francisco Chronicle reminds us that serious accidents along California’s gas pipelines are rare, and ones that kill people are rarer still.

The SF Chronicle cites data from the Transportation Department’s Office of Pipeline Safety showing that four people in California died in accidents on natural gas transmission and distribution lines from 2000 through the end of last year. Another 18 people were injured.

Investigations into the cause of the San Bruno explosion are underway.

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