The Prospective Cascadia Earthquake: A Summary by the Numbers

By now, many of us are familiar with news regarding the imposing Cascadia earthquake that is projected to strike the Pacific Northwest in the next 100-500 years. The New Yorker is one of the best articles written on this subject, and we wanted to provide you with just the cold hard facts from this article to save you time (the official article is over 15 pages long). The original article can be found at:

For reference, a 30 second earthquake has a magnitude of 7.4-7.6. A minute-long earthquake has a magnitude of 7.8-7.9. A two minute-long earthquake has a magnitude of 8.2-8.6; a four minute-long earthquake has a magnitude of ~8.8.

The recent earthquake in Japan serves as a good reference to the Pacific northwest, demonstrating the moving continental plates and seismology levels in the Pacific Ocean. The Japanese earthquake was at a 9.0 magnitude, going longer than 4 minutes; this is expected to be the same for the Pacific Northwest. The Japanese earthquake killed more than 18,000 people, and cost an estimated $220 billion.

The scariest aspect of an earthquake in the Northwest is not the shaking itself, but the tsunami that rolls in. The water is supposed to come crashing in from the Puget sound, flowing all the way east to I-5 approximately 15 minutes after the earthquake begins. The boundary of this earthquake is not defined by the well-known San Andreas line, but instead by the Cascadia subduction zone, which runs for 700 miles off the coast of the Pacific NW, starting in Northern California and continuing through Vancouver, BC. The Cascadia Zone got its name from the Cascade Mountain range in the NW.

In Washington, we are living on the North American tectonic plate. Adjacent to Washington (on the west) lies the Juan De  Fuca plate, which embodies the pacific ocean. About 500 miles west of the Juan De Fuca Plate is the Pacific plate; this connection represents part of the “ring of fire”, which composes roughly 542 volcanoes in the Pacific ocean shaped like a ring of fire. Currently, the Juan De Fuca plate is slipping under the North American plate (this movement is characterized as the Cascadia Subduction Zone). Eventually, the Juan De Fuca plate can only slide so far under until it hits the unbudgeable mass at the center of the North American plate, this bumping and breaking of rocks (when both plates hit) will cause “the big one”, that is suspected to happen in the Pacific Northwest anytime in the next 500 years. This quake is suspected to be between magnitudes of 8.0 – 9.2, depending on quickly and how much the Cascadia Subduction Zone gives way to the Juan De Fuca Plate slipping under– the more and faster the Plate slips under, the greater the magnitude; the less and slower the Plate slips under, the smaller the magnitude. See pictures below for further reference:

Source: Wikipedia (I know, its Wikipedia, but it provides excellent visual explanation and understanding)

By seeing the closest picture above, we can see that the Cascadia Subduction Zone stretches from Northern California to Vancouver B.C. The worry is not necessarily the earthquake, but the tsunami that is supposed to follow 15 minutes after the earthquake strikes. This wave is supposed to be 700 miles long, and would easily take out coastal towns and cities that are west of I-5. The projected deaths of this earthquake is supposed to reach ~13,000, along with 27,000 people injured and 1 million displaced residents.

Supporting evidence for this impending earthquake comes from the ring of fire. With constant high magnitude earthquakes occurring in the ring (magnitudes usually of 9.0 and above), it serves as evidence for a high magnitude earthquake due near the Pacific NW.

Source: Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Institutes

The ring of fire is truly a ring of subduction zones– with the colliding, sinking, slipping, compression, and tension of various oceanic plates going beneath continental plates, mountains form; this demonstrates and explains all the highly active volcanoes in this treacherous area.

Surprisingly, seismologists today have gathered much of their research and evidence from ancient Japanese and Native American records of historical earthquakes. Using trees (western red cedars in the “ghost forest”) as reference marks,  as well as Native stories of earthquakes, seismologists concluded that the Pacific NW has experienced 41 subduction-zone earthquakes in the past 10,000 years! From these numbers, the recurrence interval of Cascadia earthquakes is 243 years (see timeline above). This time period is not ideal because it allows mankind to build an entire civilization, which will soon turn into rubble and/or get drowned.

Currently, we do not have the infrastructure to resist earthquakes and tsunamis, so the best way to prepare for this situation is to learn how to respond. A compressional wave will strike the Pacific NW, which will feel like a sudden jolt to humans. This wave occurs ~60 seconds before the actual shaking; this will allow earthquake warnings and sirens to sound throughout the region. In this time, it is ideal to remain in your home, underneath a doorway/beam or under a table.  Here is a by the numbers summary of the earthquake impact:

  • Unless protected, anything glass will shatter.
  • The electrical grid will fail.
  • Bookshelves, lamps, computers, cannisters will fall down.
  • 75% of all structures in WA state are not designed to withstand a major earthquake; the larger structures in particular will likely collapse.
  • 1 million buildings are projected to collapse. 3,000 of them schools.
  • Half of all highway bridges in the Cascadia region/subduction zone will collapse.
  • 2/3 of Cascadia railways and airports will collapse.
  • 1/3 of all fire stations will collapse (in Cascadia subduction zone).
  • 1/2 of all police stations will collapse (in Cascadia subduction zone)
  • 2/3 of hospitals in Cascadia will collapse.
  • 30,000 Seattle homes will experience land slide and/or liquefaction (where solid ground behaves like liquid).
  • 15% of Seattle is built on liquefiable land.
  • On this liquefiable land, there is 17 day-care centers, and 34,500 residential homes.
  • Altogether, this shaking will trigger fires, flooding, pipe failures, dams, and hazardous-material spills.

And the disaster is not over yet. There is an even bigger danger approaching: the tsunami. About 15 minutes after the shaking, the tsunami is supposed to strike the coast. This is practically unsurvivable. The closest way to survival is to get to high ground as fast as possible. In other words, even if you think you are high enough on the downtown Seattle hill, keep running east to Capitol Hill, the flooding is supposed to stop just west of I-5; Capitol Hill is just east of I-5. Ultimately, depending on location, one will have between 10-30 minutes to get out (if west of I-5). Since the earthquake will cause impassable roads and mishap panic-alert accidents, leaving on foot or bike is the best option. One will not have time to grab belongings or searching for others; JUST GO. You run for your life. Here is some tsunami stats by the numbers:

  • The average person is knocked over by ankle-deep water moving at 6.7 mi/hr. The tsunami will likely be moving at ~15 mi/hr when it hits.
  • The tsunami height will vary depending on the coastal elevation. The wave height could max out at 100 ft.; if you live in an elevated area, the wave could still pass through at 20 ft. high.
  • The tsunami wave will look like the whole ocean elevated, overtaking land.
  • The tsunami will not be soft– it will be a 5-story deluge of waste, trucks, doorframes, concrete blocks, boats, utility poles, and other fatal material.
  • The entire tsunami devastation will be so vast, that one must be in  the international space station to see the disaster in its entirety.
  • Just east of I-5 and in its corridor, it will take 1-3 months to restore electricity.
  • It will take 1 month – 1 year to restore drinking water and sewer service.
  • It will take 6 mo. – 1 yr. to restore major highways.
  • It will take 18 months to restore health-care facilities.
  • Those a little west of I-5 will spend:
  • 3-6 months without electricity
  • 1-3 years without drinking water/sewage system
  • 3+ years without hospitals
  • For those who remain in the tsunami inundation zone, estimates are inapplicable because the area will be uninhabitable for years
  • The economy in the Pacific NW will collapse– much of the government owned infrastructure and systems will go to waste (all those tax dollars would go to waste!). Private and public businesses in their previous inundated location could not operate any longer. This results in an economic shutdown; many essential businesses that are crucial to the functioning, transportation, and defense of this country, will falter (e.g. Boeing, Starbucks, Amazon).

Casualties from the tsunami:

  • Same numbers as earthquake (which included tsunami) — 27,000 injured, 13,000 dead.
  • ^^ These stats are based on a winter Seattle day. If the earthquake struck in the summer, where residents flock to coastal beaches, the numbers would be much higher.

A large theme that comes to focus is the issue of health and safety. While current society is wrapped up in the latest technological innovation or current fad, we are not thinking ahead about the long-term defense, stabilization, and protection of our country for the future. Yes, we have a strong military. Yes, we have a prosperous and growing economy. But when a region is at risk for a natural disaster, shouldn’t we build from the inside-out? By having earthquake-resistant and stable infrastructure, as well as a carefully crafted water/sewage/industrial engineering system, the potential devastation could be significantly reduced. Our country must think deeply about the future and its natural threats.

We hope you gained a greater insight by reading this article. Remember, if you suspect a tsunami, run to the nearest and highest ground as quickly as possible for your own safety. Much of this article was summarized from the extensive and popular New Yorker:

If you have any questions or comments, please contact us at Magnolia Insurance Agency.


Magnolia Insurance | (206) 284-4886

3424 W. McGraw St.

Seattle, WA 98199


How Credit Cards Affect Rental Car Insurance

There are so many waiver claims and insurance policies out there that it can get very overwhelming. To keep it simple, we will examine only two things:

1. The rental car collision damage waiver (CDW), also known as the loss damage waiver (LDW) — this you have the option to fill out when renting a car.

2. Credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, Discover, Escape, Chase Sapphire Preferred, United Mileage Plus Explorer, American Express

The LDW is the form that many rental car companies urge you to fill out in case an accident occurs, since it covers physical damage to the vehicle, loss of use, and diminished value. Read the quoted text below from one of our previous blogs to learn more about the LDW:


It’s always a cost/benefit decision, but my suggestion is typically “YES” pay for the Loss Damage Waiver (LDW). When you sign a car rental agreement, you are willing to pay for:

1. Physical damage to the vehicle (i.e. collision, theft, hit and run)

2. Loss of Use – time that the vehicle is out of service to repair the damage

3. Diminished value – decrease in the value of the vehicle due to the damage the vehicle has incurred.

If you have comprehensive and collision coverage on your auto policy, it will extend to a rental vehicle with the same coverage and deductible that you purchased on your auto policy. It will NOT cover LOSS OF USE AND DIMINISHED VALUE. Without the LDW, you would be responsible for your deductible, loss of use and diminished value  of the rental vehicle and that can mean thousands of dollars and a lot of time and disruption on your part. “”*

To gain more insight on this topic, go to:

And now, you are all wondering, “How does my credit card affect rental car insurance?” The answer is, it depends on the type of credit card you own.

Visa: Most visa cards cover theft, damage to the rental car, towing and loss-of-use charges for customers who do not have a personal auto insurance policy. If you have a Visa credit card and do not own a personal auto insurance policy, you do not need to fill out a LDW. Visa however does not cover injury, property damage and damage to other vehicles. For those with auto insurance, Visa will reimburse the deductible as well as some other charges not covered by the insurer.

MasterCard: Also excludes coverage of injury, property damage and damage to other vehicles. Its insurance coverage varies by the issuing bank.

Discover: Offers primary coverage (means that renters are covered even if they have their own car insurance).

Escape: Offers primary coverage

Chase Sapphire Preferred: Offers primary coverage

United Mileage Plus Explorer: Offers primary coverage

American Express: Card holders have opportunity to pay one-time fee per rental of $16 to C$25 to change their coverage from secondary to primary coverage.

NOTE(s): Many credit card companies require renters to refuse the CDW offered at rental car counter.

  • Also, typically, only physical damage to the rental vehicle due to a collision or theft is covered, but injuries to you/others is not – these injuries are covered by those with auto insurance policy; those without auto insurance should look into getting the rental car company’s personal injury coverage and/or a non-owner liability policy offered at most insurance companies.
  • Loss of personal items/assets is usually excluded.
  • Credit cards do not provide coverage in Australia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, New Zealand, and Jamaica. Keep these countries in mind if you ever travel to them..
  • When paying for the rental car and its appropriate insurance coverage and waivers, the entire transaction must be in the name of one cardholder. Just like personal insurance, rental cars are no different- one must take individual responsibility for the entire vehicle.


We understand how all this insurance language can get very confusing for the reader, so if you need any clarification or have questions, please let us know.


Magnolia Insurance | (206) 284-4886

3424 W. McGraw St.

Seattle, WA 98199

Remember your 2015 New Year’s Resolutions? Stick to ’em!

It’s July 21st, and we’re already more than halfway through 2015. It is summer in Seattle, providing beautiful sunny weather to have fun, play along the water, go to social gatherings and get-togethers, go on vacation, spend time with family, and much more. However, we must not forget the long-term goals each of us established for this year.

Usually, most people forget, or drop out of their New Year resolution ~2 months into the New Year. Not many are able to sustain their long-term goals; however, achieving these goals result in greater fulfillment, happiness, and satisfaction. Whether your goal is physical and/or mental, you will achieve the mission if you set your mind to it. Let your friends and family know how important this goal is to you.

In current society today, most people are looking for the easy, short way out of difficult things. The truth is, to accomplish any challenging task, time, commitment, and effort is required. To stick to your New Year’s Resolution, you must commit to it every day. We also must keep in mind the importance of patience when embarking on such tasks. Sometimes, success takes time. Perform everything in moderation, but be sure to leave open suitable time every day to work on your specific 2015 Resolution.

A common practice to help achieve goals is to be organized, both in your time and appearance. Keeping your room or office space tidy helps put you in a simpler, cleaner mindset to get things done. Sticking to a daily routine helps enforce timely organization. It is also important to consider the amount of time you spend on different tasks. Keeping a time log of your daily schedule helps you target areas that could use more/less time; it particularly helps you find times when you can work on your New Year’s Resolution.

In the end, accomplishing any goal or resolution must come from within. Doctors, nutritionists, advisors, mentors, and trainers can only offer advice (and short-term help); they cannot micro-manage your daily life.

Resuming or starting a resolution is never too late! Don’t wait until next week; start it today. You can do it.

If you have any questions or simply need more motivation, don’t hesitate to call us at Magnolia Insurance Agency.


Magnolia Insurance | (206) 284-4886

3424 W McGraw St
Seattle, WA 98199

10 Tips to Make your Home more Fire Resistant

Adopted from the Okanogan Conservation District

With the hot dry conditions across much of the Northwest and the remainder of our summer predicted to be unusually dry, the fire danger is high. However, we can do many proactive things to mitigate this danger to our home. The tips below are good reminders of steps we can take to minimize damage:

  • Clear any buildup of pine needles, leaves and other flammable materials from your roof, gutters, porch and under your deck.
  • Weed whack or mow long grass around your home. Ideally, you want to have at least 30 feet of short, watered lawn around your home.
  • Move wood piles more than 30 feet from your home.
  • Remove propane tanks from within 30 feet of your home (In a wildfire, they can vent and shoot flame vertically).
  • Install visible house numbers on your home, driveway and street.
  • Repair shingles, tiles, or other roofing material.
  • Use metal mesh (one quarter inch is good) to prevent embers from going into vents and eaves.
  • Make sure all fire pits, candles, heat lamps, and cigarettes or other flammables are completely extinguished before leaving the site.
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY – Know your family’s evacuation plan.

– Toni Matous CPCU, CIC (Cell: 206.228.5898, Office: 206.284.4886)

3424 West McGraw Street, Seattle, WA 98199, USA

70% of People who Live Past Age 65 will Need Long Term Care

We have partnered with Highland Capital Brokerage to offer customized solutions for Life Insurance and Long Term care. Whether you need life insurance for family protection, estate planning or business continuity, we have options that will fit your needs.

Long Term care is close to the hearts of each one of us at Magnolia Insurance Agency. Each one of our parents is in a Long Term Care situation that would be critical if they did not have the insurance. Not only does Long Term Care Insurance protect the family assets, but more importantly offers options for their dignified care. There is a solution for every family, for every need and for every budget. We would love to speak with you to see if we can help you provide Peace of Mind for your family!

– Toni Matous CPCU, CIC (Cell: 206.228.5898, Office: 206.284.4886)

3424 West McGraw Street, Seattle, WA 98199, USA

Insurance matters in the United States, but does it matter as much in other countries?

In America’s current media industry, commercial advertisements are always popping up, on TV, computers, billboards, planes, and more. In particular, the insurance industry is very prevalent in the media, worrying Americans that if they might lose important assets if they don’t invest in certain types of insurance, or that they aren’t getting the best insurance deals. While Americans question the quality and type of insurance, does insurance matter as much in foreign countries?

According to The Economist, in 2014, 60% of Americans who suffered natural catastrophes (e.g. flooding, hurricanes, etc.) were covered by insurance, while only 8% were insured in Asia. Japan, China, the Philippines, and much of SE Asia highlight several of many countries who suffer from yearly hurricanes, floods, cyclones, sand storms, droughts, tornados, and more. In addition, many Asian countries experience overpopulation, cramming skyscrapers into cities with limited space, increasing the danger and threat of natural disasters. Despite these concerns, many Asian countries disregard the importance of insurance.

Natural and human disasters in the world equaled $101 billion in global economic losses in 2014. Asian countries were responsible for over half of these economic losses.

The lack of insurance in the world is becoming known as “underinsurance”. Similar to the income inequality gap in America, there is an increasing insurance gap in the world– according to the economist, as years progress, the uninsured pay more and more, while the insured pay hardly anything.

So why does insurance not matter as much to those in foreign countries (particularly in Asia)? The economist states that natural disasters are less of a concern than life and health insurance; therefore, those living in other countries choose to invest in the threats they view as more imminent. Perhaps material assets are of less cultural importance to Asian countries, or people who live in third-world countries simply cannot afford monthly premiums, or the insurance programs lack quality assistance and coverage.

Natural and man-made conflicts can happen anywhere in the world, and it is important to invest in insurance for your own safety and economic stabilization.

Please contact us at Magnolia Insurance Agency if you have any questions, concerns or comments. We would love to hear from you!


Magnolia Insurance | (206) 284-4886

3424 W. McGraw St.

Seattle, WA 98199

Seattle Mariners: Do you believe in them?

Well, the Seattle Mariners have been a mystery so far this year. At times, they go on winning streaks, and other times, they tend to lose games, resulting in their current 36-42 record. Their recent home stand was quite embarrassing, losing all of their series against opponents. During this time, the Mariners acquired Mark Trumbo, acclaimed for his power, and seemed like an urgent need for the Mariner’s struggling bats. However, by looking at their past several games in San Diego and Los Angeles, the Mariners are finally revealing their potential, and might live up to their perceived 1st place ranking in the AL West (in the next several weeks) predicted by baseball analysts for the 2015 season. Nelson Cruz, who has carried the team on his back in the beginning of the season, has reached 20 homers. Robinson Cano is finally starting to find his swing, as he is hitting balls with hard contact, going the other way on outside pitches. Even better, Cano has been hitting with power, homering yesterday and going 4 for 5 against the Padres’ ace James Shields. Kyle Seager has remained relatively consistent throughout the season, and continues to grow as a player every day. The Mariner’s acquisition of Trumbo seemed like a desperate move to increase the Mariner’s power, and he will need to hit more home runs and RBIs to be worth the trade. Ackley, who lived up to his standards his first couple years as a Mariner, will need to improve his bats, as well as Zunino– new hitting coach and former Mariner Edgar Martinez is definitely helping Zunino’s swing, and Ackley should be his next target. Brad Miller, who was hot at the plate a month ago, remains a key defensive player, but needs to start hitting again. Logan Morrison, or LoMo, was a clutch hitter for the Mariners several weeks ago, but he has not been performing offensively recently. Trumbo has not proven he is a good investment for the Mariners, hitting with a sub .250 average, and not providing much spark or power. Speedy Austin Jackson has been alright for the Mariners– he is getting runs and stealing bases, but he should be getting more runs and steals than his current status. McClendon should place Jackson consistently in the lead-off hole and signal more steals to increase Jackson’s numbers. More importantly, these changes (although more risky) will help the Mariner’s win more games — high risk, high reward, right? Similar to Jackson, Guitierrez should be stealing more as well. Since been called up several days ago, Gutierrez needs to utilize his speed and be placed earlier in the lineup. The problem, however, is that he does not get on base much. Despite all of the Mariner’s offensive struggles, do you still support your home team? Maybe it’s the location of the ballpark, maybe it’s the atmosphere, or maybe it’s the fans. Yet with this sub-par hitting team, there is one essential ingredient for the Mariner’s success: pitching. Three names have capitalized the Mariner’s successful starting rotation: Felix Hernandez, Mike Montgomery, and Tijuan Walker. Hernandez continues to remain one of the most dominant pitchers in the game, posing one of the best MLB records at 10-4. No one can complain about Montgomery, pitching two consecutive shutouts– with his performance, the idea of denouncing him to Triple AAA is very unlikely (with Hisashi Iwakuma coming back from the DL). Lastly, Tijuan Walker has won 6 out of his 7 last starts, and outdueled Padres’ ace James Shields. Let me repeat that again, Tijuan Walker, a 22 year old, third year rookie, out-pitched Padres’ ace James Shields. These outings will significantly boost Walker’s confidence and success as the Mariners approach the All-Star Break. Walker is only 22, and continues to improve every day as a Seattle Mariner. Another underlying aspect for the Mariner’s pitching success has been its bullpen. After taking a rest from the closer role, Fernando Rodney is finding the strike zone and is improving his numbers. Rodney’s substitute, Carson Smith, has been absolutely phenomenal. In Smith’s second year as a Mariner, he has sustained a steady 1.45 ERA along with a 0.74 WHIP and 37 strikeouts. As strange as Smith’s delivery appears, his sidearm baffles hitters at the plate, and results in a many ground balls for easy outs, especially in crucial ninth inning save opportunities. His tall 6’6″ build might be another factor of intimidation for hitters. In addition to the closers, relievers Mark Lowe and previous closer Tom Wilhelmson support the pitching staff with high heat, putting hitters off balance and leaving them unprepared. With Iwakuma and two year rookie James Paxton healing from their DL stints, Lloyd McClendon or Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik need to decide who to denounce from the Mariners five-man rotation. With Montgomery and Walker’s continued success, pitchers Roenis Elians and J.A. Happ should be sent down. Or, there is the option to have a six-man rotation, which would give starting pitchers more rest time, but would also lessen the amount of starts from pitchers we love to see, like Felix Hernandez. If we ignore the hitting frustrations and trade failures that the Mariners dealt with, pitching is the new window of opportunity and success for the Seattle Mariners. Especially in the long run– if the Mariners hold on to Walker, Paxton, Iwakuma, and (no doubt) Hernandez, the rotation will have time to grow, develop, and learn in the Major Leagues. Hernandez could be a great mentor for young pitchers like Walker and Paxton; ultimately, this rotation could formulate into one of the best in baseball. For short-term success, believe in the pitching (hopefully we might get a post-season bid for the first time since 2001)! For long-term success, it is ultimately Zduriencik’s decision to keep Mariner players. But my one offer of advice is to hold on to the pitching staff. The Mariners need to grow as a team and develop; in order for this to happen, they should not constantly be introduced to new faces. Root root for the home team! If you have any questions or comments regarding the Mariners, or anything else, don’t hesitate to contact us at Magnolia Insurance Agency. Sincerely, Magnolia Insurance | (206) 284-4886 3424 W McGraw St Seattle, WA 98199