Earthquakes send ripples through homeowners insurance industry in Oklahoma

Oklahoma Homeowners InsuranceSmall quakes cause some concern in the homeowners insurance space

A recent outbreak of earthquakes in Oklahoma has caused some waves in the homeowners insurance sector. Over the past month, several small earthquakes have been reported throughout the state. In many cases, these quakes are not large enough to cause any significant damage, often only knocking pictures or books from shelves. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, these quakes range in magnitude from 2.8 to 4.3, barely enough to be felt by anyone, but enough to cause some concern.

Frequency of quakes could foreshadow larger geologic event

Some state officials note that this “swarm” of earthquakes is something entirely new to Oklahoma. The state is not well known for its geological activity, but has experienced 16 small earthquakes over the past week. The frequency of these quakes, as well as their increasing magnitude and frequency, has lead many consumers to purchase earthquake protections as part of their homeowners insurance policies. This move is being supported by many of the state’s lawmakers and insurance providers.

Fracking linked to small earthquakes

Just over a year ago, a 5.6 magnitude earthquake was recorded in Oklahoma, the strongest the state had ever experienced. This quake was strong enough to cause some modest damage and came after a series of smaller quakes that are very similar to the trend that the state is currently experiencing. The cause of the quake, as well as those being experience presently, is not known, but some state officials and consumers claim that fracking is to blame. Fracking is the process of pumping fluid into man-made rock fractures in order to force oil and natural gas to the surface. Because this process is somewhat violent, some have attributed it as a cause of earthquakes.

Homeowners insurance sector sees more activity due to quakes

Whether fracking has a role to play in Oklahoma’s recent quakes is not certain. The  homeowners insurance sector, however, has been experiencing more activity due to these small events. Consumers are being encouraged to ensure that their homeowners insurance policies provide the adequate levels of coverage in order to protect against potentially strong natural disasters in the future.

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