Melbourne Earthquake 19 June 2012

Source USGS

I have been through many earthquakes over the years, with the largest 7.7 in Vanuatu. What was unusual about the one that hit last night was the length of the time the shaking continued.

Luckily, it was nothing like the one that hit Christchurch or Japan recently but by Australian standards it was significant. According to the United States Geological Survey, the quake measured 5.2, although the media have reported between 5.3 and 5.5.

The epicentre was 9.9 kilometres, 10 kilometres southwest of Moe, 18 kilometres west of Morwell, 30 kilometres west-southwest of Traralgon, 78 kilometres west-southwest of Sale and 118 kilometres of the central business district of Melbourne. The suburbs to the south west of Melbourne would obviously be closer.

Australians tend to discount earthquake as a peril, but, like any peril, it should not be ignored. I have posted a number of articles on earthquakes since I started my blog, and, over my career in claims, find them difficult for most people walk around their home and/or business and find cracks which in many cases have been there for years (caused by normal settling). Having said this, some people will have sustained genuine damage. Fortunately, I am not aware of any home & Contents policy or Commercial property policy that does not provide cover for earthquake. Fire, lightning and earthquake being regarded as the primary perils under the earliest policies.

At this stage the SES have received 35 calls, but more are expected tomorrow.

On my review of LMI PolicyComparison, I would advise the following.

  • Domestic Insurance: The excesses can vary from $200 (quite a few insurers) to $2,000 (Mansions). Some insurers do not record the excess in the Policy wording, preferring to record the amount on the Policy Schedule and so I would ask that you take this is a guide only.
  • Commercial Insurance: The majority of policies have an excess that reads: The lesser of $20,000 or 1% of the property SI at the damaged premises of each claim caused by an earthquake, subterranean fire or volcanic eruption, or from a fire resulting from any of these, only one excess for all loss or damage occurring within 72 hours of the earthquake, subterranean fire or volcanic eruption or from a fire resulting from any of these. Again, the Policy Schedule and Policy itself should be checked.

It is an ongoing concern to me and many others in the insurance industry that the level of taxes on insurance are such that many people in regional areas particulary, are under or not insured. I think we will all breathe a sigh of relief when the taxes are finally removed, that is if the Victoria Government pass the legislation to remove it. While 5.2 is not small, I am just so pleased it was not larger, causing wide spread damage which could have brought economic ruin to those without adequate insurance.

2 responses to “Melbourne Earthquake 19 June 2012”

  1. Calvin King says:

    Always enjoy Allan Manning”s words of wisdom. Total agree that Australia has become some what blase” to earthquakes events. Should a serious one strike a major city then the devestation could be worse than the Christchurch one. I”m sure a lot of the buildings in our captial cities haven”t been built to earthquake standards.

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