Last March 2011, the earthquake and ensuing tsunami caused devastation to Japan. Homes and businesses were destroyed and the economic impact was felt globally. Even large shipments of vehicles were dumped into the ocean. The business losses to Japan based companies reached into the hundreds of millions.

Over the course of this last two weeks, the first instances of tsunami debris washing up onto the West Coast of the United States were reported. Reports indicate that over 1 million tons of debris from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami were washed into the Pacific Ocean.

Literally, mountains of trash are floating across the Pacific Ocean, and although some experts feel that the West Coast won’t be severely impacted, others suggest that we have a disaster worse than any oil spill on our hands.

As the debris works its way across the Pacific, massive cleanups are anticipated, yet the effect on the West Coast fishing, tourism and other import and export industries cannot be properly calculated. The West Coast is bracing for extraordinary cleanup efforts, and companies may find themselves in unprecedented business interruption and business income loss claims if they are unable to properly function.

Will the insurance industry be receptive if a West Coast business makes a claim for a loss resulting from a March 2011 disaster? Or, will claims be rejected en mass for lack of earthquake or flood insurance? The overall hope is for the debris to be cleaned up at sea so our coasts are not affected.