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The August 23 earthquake centered in Virginia was a wake-up call for many people. As it unexpectedly rattled the areas from Atlanta, Ga. up through Canada, attention was drawn to the possibility of more seismic activity throughout the eastern U.S.

Catastrophe risk-modeler EQECAT predicts insured losses from the 5.8-magnitude quake in the sparsely-populated area at less than $100 million, but that number would be much higher if an earthquake were to strike nearby in New York City. EQECAT’s USQuake model predicts that there is actually a higher seismic hazard for the New York City metro area, where a 5.5-magnitude earthquake would potentially cause $10 to $20 billion in damages.

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