California’s Camp wildfire toll rises by another 1,273 structures destroyed


The property loss from the Camp wildfire in California continues to increase as investigations within the almost contained blaze continue, with the total number of residential, commercial and minor structures destroyed by the Camp fire alone rising by another 1,273 or 7% to reach a total of 18,421.

Wildfire industry lossesThe Camp wildfire in northern California Butte County is now 85% contained suggesting these numbers should begin to tail off soon. Meanwhile the Woolsey wildfire in southern California’s Ventura County is now 100% contained and no new reports of property damage are being filed.

Yesterday, we reported that 18,652 properties and other structures had been destroyed by the Camp, Woolsey and Hill wildfires across the state of California in the last fortnight, which was an 8% increase on the previous day.

As of today, the total number of properties and other structures destroyed across the three wildfires sits at 19,925, but all of the increase has been driven by the Camp fire.

The expected insurance and reinsurance market loss has risen further again as a result, given earlier estimates had all been made on now far too few numbers of properties destroyed.

As an example, catastrophe risk modelling specialist RMS’ estimate from earlier this week was based on around 12,000 homes and businesses being destroyed across the Camp and Woolsey wildfires, based on which it said that the eventual insurance and reinsurance industry loss from those fires could reach between $9 billion and $13 billion.

Now, across those two wildfires, the total number of residential and commercial properties destroyed alone stands at 15,792, while there are another 4,129 so-called minor or other structures and types of property, some of which are insured to a degree.

As a result, it’s safe to now assume that the insurance, reinsurance and ILS market will face an industry loss at least towards the upper-end of RMS’ earlier estimate, perhaps even above it.

With impacts expected across the ILS market now, from retrocession as revealed this morning by Markel CATCo, to private ILS and collateralised reinsurance, through quota shares as re/insurers share their losses with third-party capital providers, and through catastrophe bonds with the Cal Phoenix Re cat bond and some aggregate bonds including from USAA all exposed, this is another significant loss event for the re/insurance and ILS markets.

The fact ILS markets are set to take some level of losses across such a broad range of structures is indicative of the wide-ranging protection that the capital markets now provides to insurance and reinsurance firms and the vital role ILS plays in responding to globally significant catastrophe events.

Read our previous coverage of this wildfire outbreak:

Wildfire losses should have been priced in, says Fitch.

California wildfire properties destroyed rises another 8% to 18,652.

Mutual & listed ILS funds decline further on wildfire threat.

Modest wildfire impact possible for Pioneer ILS Interval Fund.

Cat bond funds take NAV hit on wildfire cat bond write-down.

RMS puts Camp & Woolsey wildfire losses at up to $13 billion.

California wildfire losses rising, destruction nears 15,500 structures.

PG&E’s wildfire cat bond marked down for loss, traded at distressed price.

USAA cat bond & private ILS also at risk of wildfire losses: Twelve Capital.

PG&E sued over Camp wildfire, putting Cal Phoenix Re cat bond in the frame.

Wildfires could cost insurers $5bn to $10bn: Credit Suisse analysts.

Wildfires to drive up to $6bn industry insured loss – Moody’s.

Wildfire losses to hit record in 2018, pricing needs to change: A.M. Best.

Stone Ridge & CATCo fund prices dented by California wildfire threat.

Cat bond price volatility & discounts expected from wildfires: Plenum.

California wildfire most destructive ever, multi-billion losses expected.

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