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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: February 8, 2017 11:25 AM
From: Representative Robert F. Matzie
To: All House members
Subject: Seismic Testing & Drilling Legislation/Earthquake Insurance
In the near future, I will be reintroducing legislation from last session (House Bill 2365) that would require insurers in the Commonwealth to cover all types of earthquakes – whether “naturally occurring” or caused by “human activity” – for homeowners who have purchased earthquake insurance.

In my legislative district, several structures were damaged after seismic testing was conducted in search of natural gas shale deposits; however, the damage was not covered by homeowners insurance. After I raised concerns that some insurers excluded coverage for earthquakes that do not “naturally occur,” the Insurance Commissioner directed all insurance companies that offer homeowners insurance policies in Pennsylvania to cover such occurrences under earthquake riders. This legislation would place this important directive into statute.

It is important to note that this legislation would only affect homeowners who have purchased earthquake riders, which can generally be purchased for 15-65 cents per 1,000 dollars of coverage for a dwelling.

A lot of areas where natural gas drilling is occurring have seen an increase in earthquakes or have experienced earthquakes for the first time, and many scientists believe there is a link between the two. While there has recently been a downturn in natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania, it is clear that manmade earthquakes could happen at any time. Therefore, I believe we should do all we can to ensure that our constituents have an opportunity to protect themselves financially from the damage caused by all types of earthquakes.

I hope you will join me in sponsoring this important legislation.

Former House Bill 2365 of 2015-2016 - Previous Co-Sponsors: GIBBONS, READSHAW, GERGELY, O'BRIEN, McCARTER, McNEILL, THOMAS, COHEN, ROZZI and BULLOCK

Introduced as HB695