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Fred Turner posted:

> -------
> ......... deleted ......
> Curiously, I've not heard of similar effects in the commercial insurance
> market. Rumor has it that commercial insurance is still underpriced and
>  a bargain in Ca. There seems to be a lot of new building design and
>  construction underway. What's the retrofit activity in big buildings like 
> compared to a few years ago? What's it like in NZ? I would like to hear > 
your anecdotal information about recent changes in the (Probable Max. > 
Loss) PML policies and insurance in engineered buildings. What's happening > 
out there? 
> Fred Turner
> Staff Structural Engineer
> Ca. Seismic Safety Commission
> 1900 K St. #100 Sacramento, CA 95814
> 916-327-1606 916-322-9476 Fax
> FredT5(--nospam--at)
> ---------

Reporting fom New Zealand.  Gidday!

Retrofit of UnReinforced Masonry buildings is required by legislation and 
strongly driven by insurance terms in the commercial sector.  It can be 
difficult to insure URM buildings that are on the "earthquake prone" list.

Unfortunately many city centre buildings are being converted to residential 
units (apartments) just to obtain automatic government agency (the 
Earthquake Commission) earthquake insurance.  The standard of these 
conversions and any retrofit often leaves much to be desired.  The retrofit 
strengthening standard is much lower than that for new buildings.

Residential buildings are automatically covered to a maximum limit for 
earthquake insurance where owners take out fire insurance.  Contents 
similarly.  The intent is to enable people to be re-housed to at least basic 
standards.  "Top-up" insurance to property full replacement value is readily 
available from normal insurance companies.

NZ insurance rates are driven by strong internal competition and overall by 
the international reinsurance rates.  At the moment the market is very soft, 
reinsurance extremely cheap and local rates nothing like full potential 
cost,  no matter what financial return period is used.  Both rates and 
dedutibles are very low.  Deductible $250 on $100,000 damage cover for 
residential property!!!!

We are currently addressing the retrofit of reinforced concrete and steel 
construction buildings built before our current "ductile design" codes.  I 
have previously posted info on this as follows.  There have been no comments 
to date on what are perceived to be radical and inovative legislative 
proposals.  Local comment includes both "too low, too risky" thru to "too 
intrusive and too expensive"!!!  Guess it's about right?

I will be happy to continue this thread and answer any question on this 
server or by direct e-mail.

We have good capabilities for PML studies for buildings and lifeline 
eathquake damage and cost,  and are currently heading the "all risks" way.
There is legislation which requires all local government jurisdictions to 
assess environmental risk, (includes earthquake, volcano, tsunami, 
landslide, flood, chemical spill etc etc),which drives many studies.

The following is a cut of my previous posting for list-server interest:

> --------------
> Hello Folks
> This is for the interest of those who have an interest in processes for
> identifying and making safe buildings that present more than acceptable 
risk in earthquake.
> Shafat Qazi has been kind and put three documents onto the list server for
> me.  The files are in Rich Text Format.  One can generally open them in 
most word processing programs.
> This posting is on behalf of the New Zealand National Society for 
Earthquake Engineering. (NZNSEE).  We are working with the New Zealand 
Building Industry Authority (BIA) to develop legislation for mitigation of 
buildings that are unsafe in earthquake.
> We have had legislation for unreinforced masonry buildings for some 30
> years. This has only been partially successful.  The current legislation 
is also aimed at 1960's non ductile reinforced concrete and steel buildings.
> The documents are self explanatory in that light.
> On the list server:
> File 21,  name-eqsbk.rtf, document 3, is a background paper prepared by 
the > study group of NZNSEE.
> File 22,  name bia_p1.rtf, document 1, is a background paper produced by
> BIA.  It also addresses sanitary and fire safety as well as for 
> File 23,  name bia_p2.rtf, document 2, is the wording of the proposed
> legislation.
> (Carefull.  Sorry about the _ and -  inconsistency.)
> The documents can be accessed using the "How do I Request Files (From the
> List Server) via E-mail?" instructions from the Seaoc FAQ page.

> This information is for the interest of particularly those on the West 
Coast USA, in earthquake country.
> We feel that we are presenting a pragmatic approach of 'catching' the > 
worse and really dangerous buildings while being mindful of the economics.   
> The process features "high risk buildings"  which in turn have "Critical
> structural Weaknesses" that are likely to lead to collapse and thus
> casualties.
> I will be pleased to receive any comments and to answer any questions.
> ---------------

Cheers,  Bruce S

Bruce Shephard, Principal Consultant Seismic Risk
Opus International Consultants, New Zealand
DD Telephone +64 4 4717597,  Fax +64 4 4711397
Email bruce.shephard(--nospam--at)