Oil production involving the use of hydraulic fracking has become a major economic component to the state of Texas. Billions of gallons of oil have been produced from fracking efforts since the discovery of Eagle Ford Shale and other areas found to possess rich fossil fuel reserves.
However, plenty of repercussions have occurred due to fracking efforts. Groundwater and environmental contamination, and commercial trucking accidents, are a couple of examples. However, according to geological experts, the practice of fracking has also caused an increase in seismic activity. As a result, many Texas citizens have been forced to obtain earthquake insurance.
Dramatic increase in earthquakes among fracking locations
In 2008, the U.S. Geological Survey, or USGS, reported three earthquakes that struck the Dallas-Fort Worth area. All three registered a 3.3 magnitude. Coincidentally, several fracking wastewater wells were located and in operation within the region during that time. Prior to the fracking efforts, only one earthquake was reported to occur in that same area.
Fast forward to 2013, and the USGS reported an astonishing 27 different earthquakes with magnitudes between 2.1 and 3.7 that struck areas of Parker and Tarrant counties in northern Texas. The Barnett Shale, a big natural gas field, is located in the region.
Scientists say that the increase in seismic activity in these areas is no coincidence but directly attributed to fracking activity.
Rise in earthquake insurance policies
And because of the spike in the number of tremors, many citizens all throughout Texas have obtained earthquake insurance policies. And they aren’t the only ones. Earthquake policies have also risen in other areas of the country such as in the state of Oklahoma. According to the Oklahoma Insurance Commission, 18 percent of state residents today have procured earthquake insurance. Just 2 years ago, only 3 percent carried the insurance.
The importance of understanding earthquake policies
Earthquake activity is likely to increase in the years to come as fracking efforts are expected to continue. Many more citizens will probably seek out earthquake insurance protection.
However, it’s important for citizens considering earthquake insurance to really scrutinize the policy before agreeing to any coverage. Insurance policies are typically long and detailed and often include complex and intricate exclusions, exceptions, and conditions. Potential policyholder should also compare policies from different carriers as well to get a comprehensive understanding of what each will cover.
Seeking the help of an insurance law attorney
For those with questions about their policies, or policyholders who have made claims on policies, seeking the help of an insurance law attorney knowledgeable in this area of law is advised. A lawyer can offer advice on the legality of any actions of an insurance carrier and rights of policyholders under the law.