(Sam Kee Laundry damaged by the Aug. 24 South Napa Earthquake. Photo credit: James Gunn.)
RMS (Newark, Calif.) estimates that insured losses from the Aug. 24, 2014 South Napa Earthquake will not exceed $250 million. The estimate reflects the combination of observed damage patterns and the limited earthquake insurance penetration in the region, according to a statement from the catastrophe risk management firm.
RMS reports that its reconnaissance teams found that the damage caused by the quake was consistent with damage expected from the M6.0 moderate magnitude event. The teams made the following observations after surveying affected areas, including Napa County and parts of Solano and Sonoma counties:
- The majority of damage was extremely localized within Napa County.
- Primary damage was due to ground shaking with minimal observations of fire following earthquake or earthquake sprinkler leakage. In addition, little liquefaction or lateral spreading was observed.
- The majority of severely damaged unreinforced masonry structures were concentrated in downtown Napa.
- Unreinforced masonry chimney failures were observed across the surveyed regions.
- In the Browns Valley section of Napa, residential damage was concentrated along the fault trace and included slippage from foundations and cracks in walls and garages.
- In Vallejo, older buildings and historic structures – generally those constructed before seismic design principles were adopted – sustained much of the damage.
- In regions further afield, such as downtown Sonoma and Yountville, damage was limited. A few high-value losses took place, including structural damage to a monastery in Oakville.
- The majority of businesses impacted by the earthquake reopened within a week of the event, following repairs and cleaning efforts. Most area wineries were impacted in some way – primarily by storage barrel damage – but are now open for business.