Sat | Jan 19, 2019

Insurance claims at $9 billion from California fires

Published:Thursday | December 13, 2018 | 10:02 AM
In this December 3, 2018 file photo, a vehicle rests in front of a home leveled by the Camp Fire in Paradise, California. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)

SACRAMENTO, California (AP) — Insurance claims from last month’s California wildfires already are at $9 billion and expected to increase, the state’s insurance commissioner said. 

About $7 billion in claims are from the Camp Fire that destroyed the Northern California city of Paradise and killed at least 86 people, making it the deadliest U.S. wildfire in at least a century.

The rest is from the Woolsey and Hill fires in Southern California.

Collectively, the fires destroyed or damaged more than 20,000 structures, with the vast majority in and around Paradise.

On Tuesday, state and federal authorities estimated it will cost at least $3 billion just to clear debris.

“As the claims get perfected, as individuals get access to their former homes and neighbourhoods, as they dialogue with their insurance companies and share more information about the scope of their loss, we expect these numbers to rise,” Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said of the $9 billion estimate.

There are more than 28,000 claims for residential personal property, nearly 2,000 from commercial property and 9,400 in auto and other claims for the fires.

That’s well above the number of claims filed following a series of fires that tore through Northern California’s wine country last year. Losses from those fires were initially pegged at $3.3 billion but eventually grew to $10 billion.

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