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California wildfire reported losses pass $9bn: Insurance Commissioner


Direct incurred insured losses from the recent Camp and Woolsey wildfires in California have already passed $9 billion, according to the state Insurance Commissioner.

Over 77% or $7 billion of the $9.05 billion total insurance claims counted so far are attributed to the Camp wildfire that struck northern California’s Butte County, while the remaining $2.05 billion of claims are from the southern California Woolsey fire in Ventura County.

Almost 20,000 homes, businesses and other structures were destroyed by the wildfires and the insurance and reinsurance industry is expecting the final industry loss to surpass $15 billion.

But when you see the actual number of claims being filed, for minor damage to homes, other buildings, and automobiles, as well as items such as business interruption and additional living expense claims, it’s clear that the final cost for the insurance and reinsurance industry could even reach as high as $20 billion.

The Insurance Commissioner’s preliminary claims data reflects $9.05 billion of actual losses across commercial and residential property coverage, personal and commercial vehicles coverage, and agricultural and other coverages.

“The devastating wildfires of 2018 were the deadliest and most destructive wildfire catastrophes in California’s history,” commented Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. “The tragic deaths of 88 people and over $9 billion in insured losses to date are shocking numbers—behind the insured loss numbers are thousands of people who’ve been traumatized by unfathomable loss.”

The data is based on a huge 39,974 claims across the two wildfires, over 26,800 of which were from the Camp fire.

Residential property claims account for more than 28,900 of the total, costing almost $8.4 billion, while commercial property added almost 2,000 claims and cost insurers over $571 million. Vehicle and other lines of business claims currently amount to just $123.8 million.

The data reflects actual insured losses reported by insurers to the Commission and it will continue to update the data over the coming months, with the insured loss figure expected to substantially grow.

Also read: Allstate pays over $1.2bn California wildfire claims, reinsurance lowers cost.

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