Will earthquake insurance sales rise with popularity of “San Andreas” movie?

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The film starting Dwayne Johnson has triggered a preparedness trend among California residents.

For people who live in California, the ever looming threat of the “Big One” is not something new, but the popularity of the “San Andreas” movie has spurred an interest in earthquake insurance and other preparedness steps and products.

The question that is now being asked is whether this could help Californians to step out of a phase of denial.

The release of the “San Andreas” movie occurred shortly after the release of a US Geological Survey report that indicated that it is a near certainty that a quake of a magnitude of at least 7.8 would occur between now and 2030. With the blockbuster and the headline news occurring at nearly the same time, there has been a boost in the number of people who are looking into preparedness efforts in California. This is quite important as only about one in ten Californians who have a homeowners policy also have earthquake insurance coverage.

The earthquake insurance industry is now watching to see if this interest in preparedness will actually last.

earthquake insuranceDespite the controversy that has occurred over the movie’s portrayal of the way that a massive Californian earthquake could occur, it has, at least, generated some talk about what could happen in reality. Seismologists – the same people who are trying to encourage people to prepare for the type of situations that could occur when a high magnitude quake actually occurs – have said that the situations in the movie are highly unlikely. For instance, they called a 9.1 magnitude earthquake impossibly powerful and have said that the San Andreas fault could not create a tsunami as high as the one in the film.

Still, according to the president of the EarthquakeStore.com disaster preparedness site, Mike Christensen, “Our business just tripled,” from the point that the billboards and trailers for the film were released.

Furthermore, an earthquake insurance clearinghouse website called the California Earthquake Authority has boosted the traffic to the site by about double, said Glenn Pomeroy, its CEO. Pomeroy explained that “The movie is getting people talking. And just to get them talking about earthquakes is a good thing.”

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