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We Provide Earthquake Insurance for Californians

Our Research ​​​​​​

CEA research helps ensure sound rates

California Earthquake Authority (CEA) works hard to ensure that policyholders get earthquake insurance rates based on the best available science.

  • Our research is focused on learning how to reduce damage caused by earthquakes.

Our ongoing commitment to the following research projects has helped inform our scientifically-based insurance rates, and better understand how to prepare for, and reduce, the damages caused by major earthquakes.​

Research Forum

The 2018 CEA Research Forum "Innovation in Earthquake Risk Assessment: How Technology is Changing the Industry"  was held February 22-23, 2018 at the Sacramento Convention Center. The Forum was comprised of a panel discussion on technology and the role it plays in supporting CEA's mission to provide all Californians The Strength to Rebuild® by mitigating their earthquake risk through affordable earthquake insurance, as well as options and financial assistance for retrofitting single-family woodframe houses. View the agenda (PDF) for more information.  Additional Forum materials will be posted to this site over the next few weeks, including presentation slide decks and panel discussion videos.

CEA held its inaugural research forum February 1-2, 2017, at the Sacramento Convention Center.  Over 70 attendees participated, representing the insurance, engineering, social sciences and physical sciences professions and disciplines.

Current Research

South Napa Study

CEA commissioned Dr.  Sharyl Rabinovici to conduct a study that surveyed and analyzed what happened to single-family dwellings and homeowners in the 2014 South Napa M6.0 earthquake.  The study consisted of an on-line survey, interviews and home inspections.

The Executive Summary (PDF) summarizes these findings. The results show a population widely impacted by a moderate event, and individuals who are resourceful and resilient but faced with many challenges in handling earthquake vulnerabilities. Insights gained about the beliefs and experiences of Napa homeowners can help CEA further improve its insurance offerings and mitigation programs, as well as advancing state-of-the-art earthquake retrofit performance research.

Read the full CEA South Napa Study Report (PDF).

UCERF3 (Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast)*

UCERF3 is a report that provides estimates of the magnitude, location and likelihood of earthquakes striking throughout the state.

According to UCERF3:

  • There is more than a 99 percent chance in the next 30 years that a magnitude 6.7 earthquake or greater will hit somewhere in California.

  • The research also reports that scientists now can consider more than 250,000 different fault-based earthquakes, whereas previous research and models considered far fewer.

  • The research reports the likelihood for an earthquake of magnitude 8 or greater in the next 30 years in the entire California region has increased 50 percent over previous (UCERF2) estimates.

  • An even more powerful quake – a magnitude 7.5 or greater – has a 48 percent chance of striking California in the next 30 years.

  • There is a 75 percent chance that a magnitude 7 or greater earthquake will strike in Southern California sometime during the next 30 years.

  • And in the next three decades, there's a 76 percent chance that a magnitude 7 or greater quake will happen in Northern California.

Learn more about UCERF3 

NGA West 2 (Next Generation Attenuation)*

NGA West 2 is a scientific study that advances research aimed at helping us more thoroughly understand the effects of earthquake ground motions.

Why is this study helpful? This information:

  • Leads to the ongoing improvement of codes and retrofit guidelines.
  • Provides earthquake loss modelers one of the key inputs necessary to estimate damage to residential structures.
  • Combined with other CEA-sponsored research, is used to calculate insurance rates.  

FEMA P-50 (Federal Emergency Management Agency)

FEMA P-50 was developed after the Northridge quake, this study has created a simple, standard assessment form to evaluate a house's resistance to earthquake damage based on:

  • Structural attributes.
  • How close a house is to earthquake hazards.

This assessment form helps homeowners identify how to:

  • ​Strengthen their houses.
  • Lower their earthquake risk.  

CUREE (Consortium of Universities for Research in Earthquake Engineering)

CUREE is a non-profit organization that helped CEA develop guidelines for:

  • Evaluation and repair of earthquake damage to single- and multi-family, wood frame buildings.

These award-winning guidelines are currently used to train claim adjusters. ​Read the Guidelines.

ATC-110 (Applied Technology Council)

ATC-110 is research in progress that will give homeowners standard guidelines on retrofitting their houses.

  • These guidelines could help inform building codes on how much seismic reinforcement is needed for future construction.

Why are these projects so significant?

  • They will be used to create the next version of the National Seismic Hazard Maps for California.
  • These maps shape all seismic design, so they will greatly influence future construction of nearly all buildings in California.
  • Specifically for homeowners, these projects have helped quantify earthquake risk in California so they can make informed decisions on how to protect their household finances from the costs of recovering from earthquake damage.


CEA has been honored by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute for our innovative work with UCERF3 and NGA West 2.

In 2014, CEA also received an award for excellence in educational outreach in mitigation, research and public education from the Western States Seismic Policy Council.

Questions about our research?

For more information about CEA research, contact:

Marianne Knoy, Program Manager

(916) 661-5000 or