Earthquake insurance to cost D.C. estimated $175K a year

Three years ago, the idea of the District government carrying earthquake insurance was not exactly front and center on anybody’s mind. But that was before we all realized earthquakes can happen here. And they can cause damage.

The D.C. Council amended the D.C. Code last month to allow the city’s captive insurance agency to purchase earthquake insurance. The insurance, expected to cost upward of $175,000 per year, is optional only if the District wants to lose out on millions of dollars in federal aid.

The magnitude 5.8 earthquake of Aug. 23, 2011, centered in Louisa County, Va., caused $6.8 million in damage to buildings owned by the D.C.government, including 31 school facilities. President Barack Obama later signed a disaster declaration making the city eligible to receive public assistance equal to 75 percent of the cost of repairs, or roughly $5.1 million.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency requires the District to obtain and maintain insurance equal to the amount of federal aid. If it does not, D.C. risks losing that aid.

The legislation, offered by Mayor Vincent Gray, limits the earthquake insurance to the buildings damaged by the 2011 temblor, including the Boys and Girls Club at 801 Shepherd St. NW, Walker-Jones Elementary School at 100 L St. NW, the Metropolitan Police Department Second District building at 3320 Idaho Ave. NW, the D.C. Armory, School Without Walls and One Judiciary Square.

For business owners in the Washington area: Have you added earthquake insurance to your policy since 2011? Let me know, in the comments or an email.


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