Questions abound on earthquake insurance for energy firms

The Oklahoma Supreme Court stepped in last week to determine if the insurer for an oil and gas company should have to pay out on claims stemming from earthquakes caused by wastewater disposal wells.

In late 2013, executives of New Dominion LLC reached out to the company’s insurance agent, Mark Tedford.

The number of earthquakes in Oklahoma had dramatically increased since 2008, and the oil and gas industry was increasingly coming under suspicion as the cause.

New Dominion wanted to be sure it was covered for earthquake-related incidents under its policy with National American Insurance Co., or NAICO.

Tedford sent back an email to Fred Buxton, counsel for New Dominion, containing a news article on the subject and a brief message.

“I thought you would be interested in this article,” read Tedford’s message, as recorded in court documents. “The insurance industry’s stance is to litigate hard any claim on this so that they never set a precedence of acknowledging liability.

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