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Insurance firms reject Zurich quake claims

Lyssandra Sears · 14 Feb 2012, 09:24

Published: 14 Feb 2012 10:25 GMT+01:00
Updated: 14 Feb 2012 09:24 GMT+01:00

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Over 100 reports of damage have been filed with insurance companies following the earthquake in the Zurich area that took place on Saturday night.

Shortly before midnight on Saturday, an earthquake measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale rocked the greater Zurich area. The epicentre was determined as being close to Zug and about 30 kilometres under the earth’s surface.

The earthquake was thought too deep to cause any damage, but Zurich Building Insurance has received over 100 small reports of damage, newspaper Tages Anzeiger reports.

The majority of the damage is made up of hairline cracks in building work, according to Heinz Fröhlich from Zurich Building Insurance. Although the cracks are visible, the integrity and safety of the buildings have not been compromised.

The insurance company has decided that it will not pay out on these claims because it considers that the earthquake was too weak on the seismic scale.

This is the case not only in Zurich, but also in Lucerne, which also saw damage from the quake. Lucerne Building Insurance has also refused to make payouts following the damage, online news website 20 Minutes reported on Sunday.

Story continues below…

According to seismologist Florian Haslinger from the ETH technical college in Zurich, earthquakes of this magnitude are usually one-off events, Tages Anzeiger reports.  Nevertheless, although none have yet been reported, aftershocks from the quake should not be ruled out.

Haslinger has also expressed concern for the consequences of any future earthquakes because he believes that few buildings in Switzerland are earthquake-proof, 20 Minutes reports.

Lyssandra Sears (news@thelocal.ch)

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Your comments about this article

2012-02-14 15:26:36 by Lunavation
Just testing for clarity.... an earthquake caused damage to peoples homes, but the insurance companies will not pay for said damage because the magnitude of the quake was not severe enough in their opinion. So by this logic in the event of a larger quake, property owners do not sustain damage can make a claim because the insurance companies will have deemed the event severe enough for damage to have occurred....
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