clear
Monday December 11th, 2017 12:19PM

Insurance claims for Northern California wildfires reach $9B

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The wildfires that ravaged Northern California wine country two months ago have generated $9 billion in insurance claims, far more than the single costliest fire in U.S. history, officials said Wednesday.

The figure is not likely to increase much more, California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said. It represents residential, commercial, automobile and other property claims filed with 260 insurers by Dec. 1.

"And behind those staggering numbers are personal stories of tragedy and loss, and 44 individuals whose lives were lost," Jones told The Associated Press.

A 1991 fire in Oakland Hills is the costliest single fire in U.S. history, prompting $2.7 billion in claims in today's dollars, according to data from the Insurance Information Institute.

Nearly two dozen fires broke out in Northern California in mid-October. The state hasn't provided a cost breakdown by each fire, but officials say one of the largest damaged far more buildings than the 1991 blaze.

People have filed insurance claims on more than 18,000 homes that were partially or fully destroyed, most of them in Sonoma County, where a blaze decimated several neighborhoods, Jones said. There were nearly 2,300 business property claims, nearly 5,000 vehicle claims and 650 claims for other property, including boats.

Despite the staggering losses in a short period of time, Jones said there's "no question" insurers have the money available to pay claims.

Some Californians have reported receiving inaccurate information from their insurance companies, Jones said. He also warned that people should vet any contractors they plan to work with on rebuilding.

One person reported to Jones' office that they were told insurance money could only be used to rebuild on the same property. The law allows for using that money to build or buy a home anywhere, Jones said. Another was told they had 12 months to resolve their claims, not 24 as the law allows for a declared disaster like the wildfires.

The inaccuracies may stem from the fact that insurers have brought in staff from other states to handle the influx of claims, he said.

"If one person is told the wrong thing by an insurance company, it's not acceptable," Jones said.

Disputes over claims are likely to increase in the coming months as consumers move through the process, Jones said.

The FBI has created a task force to work with state and local agencies to investigate and prevent fraud in relief efforts. Intelligence gathered about fraudulent activities in other natural disasters this year, including hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, will help serve as a guidepost for ferreting out schemes in California, the FBI's San Francisco division said in a statement.

Consumers in other areas of California claimed an additional $400 million in wildfire-related losses in October, including 376 residential property claims totaling $71 million from a fire in Orange County.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, AP Business, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Financial Services, AP Business - Small Business
© Copyright 2017 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Wildfire destroys mobile homes in California retirement park
A brush fire driven by gusty winds that have plagued Southern California all week exploded rapidly Thursday and destroyed dozens of trailer homes in a retirement community north of San Diego
1:15AM ( 7 minutes ago )
In Franken's fall, sudden Senate pickup chance for GOP
Sen. Al Franken's resignation will open up a prized Senate seat for a temporary successor and a 2018 election
1:02AM ( 20 minutes ago )
'Not a drill': Students hid in classrooms as shooter kills 2
A shooter killed two classmates at a New Mexico high school as students hid in their classrooms or in closets
12:59AM ( 22 minutes ago )
U.S. News
British PM in Brussels amid possible Brexit breakthrough
British Prime Minister Theresa May is meeting with top European Union officials to make a final push to expand talks on her country leaving the bloc to the vital issues of future relations and trade
1:01AM ( 20 minutes ago )
Bitcoin soars then falls back; banks raise risk concerns
Bitcoin surges but then falls sharply; banks raise concern about risk ahead of the debut of bitcoin futures next week
12:14AM ( 1 hour ago )
2 Australians jailed in brutal slaying of Aboriginal woman
A judge has sentenced a man to at least 14 years in prison for the slaying of an Aboriginal woman who bled to death from a violent sexual assault on a remote beach
12:03AM ( 1 hour ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Jones makes game-saving catch, Falcons beats Saints 20-17
Deion Jones made an interception in the end zone with 1:25 remaining and the Atlanta Falcons held on for a crucial 20-17 victory over the New Orleans Saints, setting up a three-way race for the title in the NFC South
11:33PM ( 1 hour ago )
Australian prime minister rushes gay marriage into law
Australia's prime minister rushed gay marriage into law by gaining a final signature on the bill overwhelming endorsed by Parliament and as the nation started planning weddings that can take place in a month.
11:31PM ( 1 hour ago )
Pearl Harbor survivors in their 90s attend solemn ceremony
Survivors have gathered at the site of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor to remember fellow servicemen killed in the early morning raid 76 years ago
9:48PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP National News
DOT drops proposal to force airlines to disclose bag fees
The Transportation Department is dropping an Obama administration proposal that would have required that airlines disclose checked and carry-on bag fees at the start of a ticket purchase rather than later
7:44PM ( 5 hours ago )
The Latest: 20 homes burn in San Diego County wildfire
At least 20 homes have burned in a retirement community as a wildfire surges through northern San Diego County
7:39PM ( 5 hours ago )
Town known as 'Shangri-La' threatened by California fire
The biggest and most destructive of the windblown fires raking Southern California has shut down one of the region's busiest freeways and threatened Ojai, a scenic mountain known as "Shangri-La."
7:24PM ( 5 hours ago )
Top U.S. News short headlines
Japan economy gains momentum, grows 2.5 percent in July-Sept
Japan reports its economy grew at a 2.5 percent annual pace in July-September, upgrading an earlier estimate of 1.4 percent growth
11:55PM ( 1 hour ago )
Brown out: Browns fire VP, coach Jackson keeps job for '18
Winless Browns fire top executive Sashi Brown, but coach Hue Jackson will be back in 2018 despite 1-27 record
9:57PM ( 3 hours ago )
Browns hire former Chiefs executive Dorsey as new GM
Browns hire former Chiefs general manager John Dorsey to run their front office
9:51PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Business
A Medicaid challenge: Poor health, but a drive to improve
People on Medicaid have worse health, but a new survey finds they're invested in improving
1:46PM ( 11 hours ago )
Largest wildfire eyes communities northwest of Los Angeles
Flames from the largest and most destructive Southern California wildfire churned toward communities northwest of Los Angeles on Thursday, disrupting travel on a major highway and triggering more evacuations
1:11PM ( 12 hours ago )
Years after Lehman: Final rules set on strengthening banks
A global forum of banking regulators has completed a set of rules aimed at keeping bad banks from needing taxpayer bailouts and hurting the economy
12:28PM ( 12 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
AP Exclusive: Poor health and high expectations for Medicaid
AP Exclusive: People on Medicaid have worse health, but a new survey finds they're invested in improving
3:33AM ( 21 hours ago )
Insurance claims for Northern California wildfires reach $9B
Officials say the wildfires that ravaged Northern California wine country two months ago have generated $9 billion in insurance claims
5:09PM ( 1 day ago )
UnitedHealth ventures deeper into patient care with $5B deal
UnitedHealth will spend nearly $5 billion to buy hundreds of clinics, just three days after rival Aetna announced a tie up with CVS Health
9:21AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Business - Financial Services
LA will become largest US city with recreational pot
Los Angeles to become the largest U.S. city with recreational pot after the City Council voted to license sales next year
8:47PM ( 1 day ago )
GOP senator says comments on estate tax misinterpreted
A top Republican senator is defending GOP efforts to reduce the hit to the wealthy from the federal estate tax because it helps those who invest rather than people who spend their money on "booze or women or movies."
2:27PM ( 3 days ago )
Opponents in LGBT case agree: It's not about wedding cake
Opposing sides in LGBT case coming before Supreme Court agree: It's not about wedding cake
6:51PM ( 6 days ago )
AP Business - Small Business
Wildfire destroys mobile homes in California retirement park
A brush fire driven by gusty winds that have plagued Southern California all week exploded rapidly Thursday and destroyed dozens of trailer homes in a retirement community north of San Diego
1:15AM ( 7 minutes ago )
In Franken's fall, sudden Senate pickup chance for GOP
Sen. Al Franken's resignation will open up a prized Senate seat for a temporary successor and a 2018 election
1:02AM ( 20 minutes ago )
'Not a drill': Students hid in classrooms as shooter kills 2
A shooter killed two classmates at a New Mexico high school as students hid in their classrooms or in closets
12:59AM ( 23 minutes ago )
The Latest: Police identify victims of school shooting
Authorities have identified two students who were killed when a gunman opened fire Thursday at a New Mexico high school
12:48AM ( 34 minutes ago )
Elite thoroughbred race horses killed in California wildfire
Elite thoroughbred race horses used their speed to sprint away from flames Thursday as a one of California's major wildfires tore through a training center in San Diego County
11:42PM ( 1 hour ago )