Ridgecrest earthquakes jolt SoCal – and we were there
It struck on a Friday night, when people were still celebrating the holiday weekend. Some had already sustained damage from the earlier earthquake; most were expecting smaller aftershocks. But the Friday temblor – 7.1 in magnitude, on July 5th – was 10 times larger than the earlier one. ACM’s Ridgecrest CA earthquake response team was already there.
“Our catastrophe team mobilized immediately following the initial 6.4 magnitude quake that struck on July 4. Partnering with Arrowhead Residential Earthquake, we identified customers in the affected area,” explained ACM President Dhara Patel.
No claims were reported on the holiday, but ACM management immediately began engaging a Catastrophe Response Plan and coordinated preparations with field services in anticipation of loss reporting.
Although July 5 was a company holiday, a full ACM Catastrophe Team came into their respective offices and began making proactive contacts to customers in Ridgecrest and surrounding areas, whether they had reported claims or not. Everyone ACM was able to reach initially indicated only minor to moderate damage – nothing catastrophic.
“After the second quake occurred, we re-contacted and assisted our local producers with making policyholder calls to see what damage they sustained. Luckily, only a small number had damage and initiated claims; just one reported substantial additional damage,” said Patel.
The Ridgecrest CA earthquake response team worked through the holiday weekend, trying to reach customers and see if they needed assistance.
One local agent was called to get additional policyholder contact numbers, and it so happened that the agent is policyholder himself. Relieved to hear from the team, he relayed that he’d sustained no damage and was also able to give updates on several of his own clients, who were all safe with only very minor damages.
Field claims staff were immediately dispatched to the area to perform inspections. They performed some drive-bys for policyholders not reachable by phone, some of whom were out of town for the holiday. ACM’s Ridgecrest CA earthquake response team has completed inspections on all reported claims.
“Most of our customers only had minor damage – items falling off shelves, small cracks in walls and patios. While a few had more serious damage, no one was injured. Of course, nerves were a little frayed by two major quakes and hundreds of small aftershocks for days,” said Patel.
“Several people had quite large cracks and will need engineers to confirm the extent of damage. One policyholder who was out of town on the holiday returned to a home that ‘looked like it was ransacked’ — with items fallen over and cracks in walls and windows. Her grandfather clock, a family heirloom passed down through generations, was damaged badly from falling over.
Fortunately, however, everyone was safe, and power was restored to most homes generally within the day.”
According to the LA Times, more than 80,000 aftershocks have been reported since early July. There’ve been a pair of earthquakes in the East Bay and a 4.6 magnitude quake near Seattle.