Get the Opinion newsletter. Insurers and the government need to build public awareness in eastern Canada of the risk that earthquakes pose, while demonstrating the benefits of insurance as a risk mitigation tool. The massive "megathrust" earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 8.7-9.2 ruptured some 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) of the Cascadia Subduction Zone, from California to Vancouver Island. Such damage, of course, doesn’t have to happen. This physically based model is especially useful for estimating the recurrence rates for rare, very large magnitude earthquakes. This has led to questions about the insurance industry's ability to weather the financial impact of large earthquakes, as well as the preparedness of residents and businesses. (the largest eastern Canadian earthquake, the 1663 Charlevoix event, has been estimated as a magnitude 7) and don’t get big enough quakes to wake them out of their complacency. The IBC chose AIR to conduct the study using the updated model. have apparently learned key lessons from events in California (San Francisco, 1989; Landers, 1992, Northridge, 1994; Hector Mines, 1999) and Washington State (Nisqually, 2001), understanding that similar events are possible in B.C.

Highlights : A really significant earthquake has yet to strike one of the major concentrations of insured property in the highly-developed areas around Vancouver, Montreal, and Québec City, but it is only a matter of time before one does. At precisely 11am on September 16th, 1732, Montreal (or New France, as the city was called at the time) was (literally) rocked by a 5.8 magnitude earthquake that destroyed major segments of the city. People often assume that state emergency funds will be forthcoming in the event of an earthquake, but this may not always be the case. Also available in French and Mandarin. Quebec, Canada has had: (M1.5 or greater) 0 earthquakes in the past 24 hours 0 earthquakes in the past 7 days; 2 earthquakes in the past 30 days; 47 earthquakes in the past 365 days Thus, for easterners, earthquake awareness and preparedness is not part of the culture as it is in B.C. Greater knowledge of Canada's seismic activity and a deeper appreciation of the extent of exposure in harm's way have contributed to a heightened perception of Canada's earthquake risk. Click here to subscribe. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Contact us This proved to be quite uncommon. Major updates to the vulnerability module have been undertaken in collaboration with Canadian and international engineering experts and reflect a sophisticated understanding of regional building practices.

Seismologists quickly quashed any connection, pointing out that the B.C. Fortunately, many in B.C. In addition to adding liquefaction and a greatly enhanced fire following model, the release is the first in the industry to include fully probabilistic landslide and tsunami models for Canada. And those in high-risk areas do not have a nearby proxy that has had bad experiences from which they can learn. Full Disclaimer, Glenn McGillivray is managing director, Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction.

It is only a matter of time before one does.

This article outlines why AIR undertook a major enhancement to the Canada earthquake model and how insurers can truly own their risk and comply with regulatory expectations. Yu performed risk analyses for Montreal for different earthquake scenarios.

As experience from other seismically active regions in the world shows, these products can spread the risk, making it easier to manage. State-of-the-art ground motion prediction equations have been incorporated. The ground shook so violently and for so long on Vancouver Island that native peoples could not stand and some of their homes were destroyed. Because they can occur close to urban areas, they are considered by many to be more hazardous.

Those in the east, on the other hand, are largely still in denial. It is inevitable that a major earthquake will occur near an urban centre in Canada. If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to In fact, 70% of the population of Quebec lives in seismic regions. A major earthquake could result in significant losses in an area that includes a concentration of economic assets and population. The region in which the 1700 Cascadia earthquake occurred is part of the Pacific Rim, around which about 81% of the world's largest earthquakes occur. Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction, Toronto; 2010.

Sign up today. One of the overriding lessons coming out of the pair of California temblors is that no matter how much recognition there is that an area is prone to earthquakes – and no matter how prepared one thinks one is – there is always some level of surprise when an event strikes. Unable to subscribe at this moment. Montreal area. Our applied research covers emerging risks, industry trends and topical deep dives. Thank you for your patience. For example, based on a code-level earthquake scenario [2% in 50 years, magnitude 6.7 on the Richter scale, and hypocenter distance 30 km southwest (X, Y: − 73.9133 , 45.37205) of Montreal], 41 census tracts out of 522 would have intensive damages ( damage > 1 million sq ft / km 2 ). Keep your Opinions sharp and informed. Not that long ago, few believed that the Cascadia subduction zone was capable of producing extreme earthquakes, but the last few decades of research have added enormously to our understanding of Canadian seismicity. In total, 300 houses were damaged, along with 185 buildings, though the latter damage was largely due to the large fire that started as a consequence of the earthquake. AIR has also used paleoseismic and active fault data in western Canada, and constructed a comprehensive kinematic block model using GPS and other geodetic data to estimate the accumulation of seismic energy in the Cascadia Subduction Zone. This article was published more than 1 year ago. Geological evidence indicates that the time interval between such quakes over the last 3,500 years has varied from 250 to 850 years, and they are considered to have a return period of 500 years or longer. Despite Canada's vast area, approximately 40% of its 35 million inhabitants live in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia and the Québec City—Windsor Corridor. These entirely plausible events have exceedance probabilities of approximately 0.2% (a 500-year return period). The event came a day after a 6.4 quake shook the same area, with that quake now considered to be a foreshock of the more powerful Friday temblor. A really significant earthquake has yet to strike one of the major concentrations of insured property to be found today in the highly-developed areas around Vancouver, Montreal, and Québec City. From a geological perspective, a very brief span of time has elapsed since European settlers arrived in the 1500s. In Montreal, the risk is low because the highest altitude in Montreal, other than Mount Royal, is the Saint-Jacques cliff, an area that is not at risk for a major earthquake.
AIR Worldwide is a Verisk business.Verisk Analytics®. Earthquake insurance products can ease the financial and economic loss burden resulting from a seismic event and hence also offer households security of knowledge that support would forthcoming.

Including indirect losses caused by the interruption of supply chains and the interconnectivity of economic sectors, the western scenario results in modeled economic losses of nearly CAD 75 billion (of which 20 billion is insured) and the eastern scenario causes economic losses of CAD 60 billion (of which 12 billion is insured).

This translation has been automatically generated and has not been verified for accuracy. Three of Canada’s four largest cities are located in regions of high to moderate risk of earthquake damage – Vancouver, Montreal, and We now know that M9.0 or greater quakes sporadically rupture the entire length of the subduction zone. The most severe historical earthquake Editor's Note: Better understanding of Canada's principal areas of seismic activity and the growing value of insured property within them have led to questions about the Canadian insurance industry's preparedness for a large earthquake. Attempting to connect dots that weren’t really there, many asked whether the July 3 Haida Gwaii quakes were related to the California events. AIR's earthquake model for Canada was introduced in 1997, and underwent major revision in 2002 and minor updates in 2005 and 2008. Initially reported as a 7.1 by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Friday’s quake was downgraded to a 6.9, then quickly bumped back up to a 7.1.

AIR Worldwide | All rights reserved. Lawrence Valley communities (70 per cent of Quebeckers live in a seismic risk zone), and take-up of earthquake insurance in the low single digits. The updated version, to be launched this summer, has been extensively reengineered and offers significant updates and enhancements. A Swiss Re in-house catastrophe modelling tool estimates that a magnitude 7.3 earthquake near Quebec City could result in total losses to residential property alone of CAD 10.6 billion.

| Trademarks. This is not to say that B.C. In Eastern Canada, it appears to be more a problem with lack of experience than poor memory. To raise awareness, stimulate debate, and to help insurance companies plan for and mitigate risk from future earthquakes, the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) commissioned a comprehensive study in 2012 on the insurance and economic impact of major earthquakes in Canada. But even with significant time lapses between major quakes, awareness of the hazard is quite good in B.C. AIR's model provides the most advanced and current view of shake, tsunami, landslide, liquefaction, and fire-following earthquake risk in Canada, and each component of the model has been extensively validated and peer reviewed by independent experts. © 2000-2020 Greater challenges, of course, come when an area hasn’t been hit by a large, damaging quake for even longer.

Quakes are less frequent there than on the west coast, and less powerful. We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. Canada's Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institute (OSFI) regulates insurance solvency through its supervisory framework, which includes a set of principles and guidance documents. Please log in to listen to this story. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests. For those in places such as Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec, they understand that they don’t share the same risk as in B.C. The industry has all the tools required to innovate, via design and distribution, which would make earthquake cover more affordable and attractive. Falling rock or debris Weakened infrastructures can cause falling rock or debris, which can cause …

Still, large and damaging events have occurred in the past and are likely to do so again in the future. For those in places such as Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec, they understand that they don’t share the same risk as in B.C. In order to proceed complete the captcha below.