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Los Angeles County: Least Prepared County in the Entire Country For A Natural Disaster

Six of the top 8 least prepared counties are in California

By Evan Symon, June 4, 2024 1:20 pm

According to a recently released Claimguide study, six of the top eight counties in the U.S. least prepared for natural disasters are in California, with Los Angeles County taking the top spot by a wide margin.

For decades, Los Angeles County has been a flashpoint for a wide variety of natural disasters. Damage-level earthquakes, wildfires, tsunamis, flooding, extreme heat, and landslides have all occurred within the county in the past several decades, with the USGS specifically finding that an earthquake of at least 6.7 magnitude has a 60% chance of occurring within the county in the next 30 years. Major wildfires followed by mudslides coming in a disastrous combination, as seen during and in the aftermath of the 2017 La Tuna Fire, are also distressingly common.

Insurance companies have also taken notice. Insurance rates are amongst the highest in California, with risks in Los Angeles County often being pointed to as a main reason for the recent trend in insurance companies drastically raising rates, dropping policies, or pulling out of California altogether. When State Farm announced earlier this year that 30,000 homes were to be dropped of coverage earlier this year because of the risk, the largest percentage of policies dropped were found to be in L.A. County.

With Los Angeles County both a natural disaster hotspot and the largest non-hurricane area risk area for insurers, Claimguide found in their study that the County was also the least prepared for such natural disasters. According to the study, which utilized both FEMA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) data, California as a whole is the third most natural disaster prone state in the country. Only Texas and Florida, both at risk for major extreme heat and hurricane events, had it worse than the Golden state.

When broken down by county, Claimguide used community resilience, social vulnerability, and overall inherent risk of natural disasters in the county as metrics. While many areas had worse social vulnerability with more poorer areas and worse community resilience with bad recovery abilities, L.A. County managed to score low enough across all three metrics to be the only county in the country to get a score of 100, the worst possible score.

“Los Angeles County has an exceedingly low community resilience score (19.67 out of a possible 100) which is one of the lowest among counties with at least 200,000 or more people,” said Claimguide in their study. “In terms of overall risk, Los Angeles County scores 100 out of 100, making it the riskiest locale in the nation. The county’s expected annual loss to weather and natural disasters is $3,916,212,454, which is the highest in the nation.”

Los Angeles County receives highest risk score possible

L.A. County barely beat out Harris County in Texas. The Houston-encompassing county had a 99.97 score, saved from the worst only because of less variance of natural disasters. However, the rest of the top 5 were all California counties. L.A. County adjacent Riverside and San Bernadino Counties came in 3rd and 4th, getting respective risk scores of 99.94 and 99.90. Alameda County in the Bay Area, rounded out the top 5 with a risk score of 99.87.

While the Claimguide study has no direct consequences, it points to Los Angeles County homeowners and renters likely having a harder time getting and keeping insurance in the future. In addition, the odds of a major natural disaster striking L.A. County remain high, meaning that L.A. could face a disastrous scenario in the future where a huge natural disaster strikes with residents left with no insurance.

“This study shows you exactly the gamble going on in SoCal right now,” Trevor Connery, a lobbyist who has worked for insurance companies in the past, told the Globe on Tuesday. “If the big one does strike in L.A. County in the near future, a lot of people, in terms of insurance coverage, will be screwed. 2.7 million don’t have health insurance. Over 16% of drivers don’t have auto insurance. And homes? That’s a huge gamble for many.”

“L.A. has a high population with many in high risk areas. There’s a lot of poorer areas, a lot of areas not set up to recover fast, and many not monetarily prepared for such a huge thing to happen. The report doesn’t go into areas that are more on L.A.s strongsuit. Infrastructure, for example, could be L.A.’s saving grace for many events. Even a large earthquake can’t stop EMS from deploying. There’s also building readiness. Many buildings in L.A. can withstand earthquakes or at least are more ready for them. For wildfire areas, they all have evacuation plans in place and state and federal resources at the ready to help. Whenever a road is blocked by a mudslide because of heavy rains, the state clears it fast.”

“But, even with all those flaws, the study is correct in showing that L.A. County is in bad shape for natural disasters. They and the other Californian counties at most risk cross their fingers each year that something too bad doesn’t happen. it seems. Politically, it can be a huge mess too, as that is a lot of people needing help at one time. California and Federal relief agencies will be slammed if L.A. gets a big disaster. That’s why they are number one on the list.”

Santa Clara County and Orange County joined three Florida Counties in the 6th through 10th spots of the study. Santa Clara was 6th overall with a 99.84 risk score, and Orange was 8th, with a score of 99.78.

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4 thoughts on “Los Angeles County: Least Prepared County in the Entire Country For A Natural Disaster

  1. NO surprise whatsoever here… LA County (and CITY) are managed by inept IDIOTS who are more concerned about their virtue-signaling score rather than making hard decisions about resource allocations….
    Of course, MOST of them are former “community organizers” who have ZERO practical business experience and could not manage their way out of a paper sack, but are good about expressing their grievances to their impoverished (or guild-ridden, depending) constituents in exchange for their votes….
    I tell people all the time that if they have a choice, TRY to find housing in VENTURA County, and drive the extra few miles if they work in El Lay County, just for the reasons that are explained in this article…
    Stay as far away as possible from the idiotas that pass for “leaders” in El Lay County…. complete ineptness and corruption is the hallmark of “governance” there….

  2. LA County is already a disaster because of the criminal Democrat cabal that controls it. No doubt their globalist and cartel paymasters are pleased with them?

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