Powell to Participate in Washington Earthquake Panel

UALR COB Professor Lars Powell will participate in a panel discussion, “Examining the Case for Federal Earthquake Insurance,” from 10 a.m to noon Thursday, July 14, at the Heritage Foundation’s House Annex in Washington, D.C.

The event is sponsored by the Heritage Foundation, a research and educational institution whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies, and the Heartland Institute, a research and education organization aimed at discovering, developing, and promoting free-market solutions to social and economic problems.

Other panelists include Eli Lehrer, vice president of the Heartland Institute; Ralph Rexach, former commissioner of insurance in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and Greg Heerde, managing director of Aon Benfield, considered an industry leader in treaty, facultative, and capital markets.

In the wake of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan earlier this spring, Sens. Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein, both D-Calif., introduced legislation aimed at substantially lowing the cost of earthquake insurance. The proposed Earthquake Insurance Affordability Act would allow state-sponsored earthquake insurance programs to access federal loan guarantees and better prepare financially for quakes. Currently, the only such program in the U.S. is the California Earthquake Authority.

Standard U.S. homeowners insurance policies do not cover earthquakes. Each year, about 5,000 earthquakes hit the United States, mainly in California and Alaska. The New Madrid fault runs through parts of eastern Arkansas. Earlier this spring, the state suspended operations at some natural gas drilling sites to determine if the activity caused a spate of earthquakes through the central part of the state.

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