California wildfire insured loss counted at over $1bn and rising

by Artemis on October 20, 2017

The Insurance Commission of California has released preliminary insured loss data on the devastating California wildfires, putting the figure at $1.045 billion, so far, with an expectation that this will rise as the claims process continues.

Over 7,000 commercial and residential structures have been either damaged or destroyed in the fires, and combined with damage to personal and commercial vehicles and agricultural equipment, and based on data received from eight California insurers, the Insurance Commission estimates insured losses of more than $1 billion.

Insurance Commissioner, Dave Jones, commented; “These numbers are just the beginning of the story as one of the deadliest and costliest wildfire catastrophes in California’s history. The tragic death of 42 people and over a billion in property losses are numbers—behind these numbers are thousands of people who’ve been traumatized by unfathomable loss. We must do all we can to ease their pain and help them recover and rebuild.”

Earlier this week analysts at Moody’s said that the wildfires could cost insurers and reinsurers over $4.6 billion, and that 2017 was likely to become one of the costliest years on record for wildfire activity.

Insurance Commissioner Jones underlined that the figure is expected to increase as the claims assessment process continues, and last week he ordered insurers to expedite claims by doing all they can to assist policyholders.

Jones also dispatched his consumer service team to help with the process and increase the speed of the claims process for clients, and also signed a declaration of emergency, enabling insurers to utilise claims adjusters from different states to bolster the workforce.

The data provided by the eight Californian insurers, of which the $1.045 billion preliminary insured loss estimate is based on, includes: 4,177 partial residential losses, 5,449 total residential losses, 35 renters/condo losses, 601 commercial property losses, more than 3,000 auto losses, 83 commercial auto losses, 150 farm or agricultural equipment losses, and 39 boats.

The fires broke out on October 8th, 2017, and claimed the lives of 42 people. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) said last week that 5,700 structures had been destroyed by the fires, with the latest figures revealing that combined with damaged structures, more than 7,000 properties have been affected.

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