And only $30bn of total losses likely to be insured

Risk Management Solutions (RMS) has announced the results of a study analysing the impact of a major earthquake on the Hayward Fault.

If a magnitude a magnitude 7 earthquake ruptured the Hayward Fault it would result in economic losses between $210bn and $235bn, with only up to $30bn likely to be insured, according to the study.

The 1868 Hayward earthquake ruptured the southern section of the fault and caused extensive damage.

‘More than seven million people now live in the fault zone and surrounding areas - over 25 times the population at the time of the 1868 earthquake,’ said Dr. Patricia Grossi, senior research scientist at RMS.

‘As the southern section of the fault has ruptured, on average, every 140 years for the past 700 years, this particular anniversary highlights the need to continue investing in both short and long-term mitigation as well as preparedness initiatives before the next event occurs.’

Rebuilding would be very expensive and difficult because of the low level of insurance coverage in the region, warned Mary Lou Zoback, vice president for earthquake risk applications at RMS.