Two months after more than 100,000 residents fled, as wind-whipped wildfires ripped through northern and parts of southern California, Commissioner Dave Jones revealed the latest statewide total of insured losses, which now tops $9.4 billion in residential and commercial claims from the October wildfires, which are now counted among the most deadly and costly in the state's history. The North Bay fires account for $9 billion in claimed losses alone.
"These numbers not only represent staggering losses to tens of thousands of Californians," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "The October wildfires that devastated whole communities and tragically cost 44 people their lives have now proven to be the most destructive and deadliest in our state's history."
The latest report is the result of a formal data call in which more than 260 insurers reported their total claims as of December 1 and includes the destruction and damage for more than 21,000 homes, 2,800 businesses, and more than 6,100 private autos, commercial vehicles, and 788 losses involving other lines of insurance such as agricultural equipment and watercraft.
Commissioner Jones visited the wildfire zones throughout northern California and met with residents at local assistance centers where he heard first-hand the harrowing stories of loss from victims who escaped with only minutes to spare.
Jones took extraordinary steps to assist wildfire victims by dispatching detectives from the department's law enforcement team to educate residents about how to avoid being victimized by scam artists who prey on vulnerable residents after disasters and sending consumer services teams to every local assistance center to personally meet with consumers and help them begin the claims process and answer insurance-related questions. As of December 1, the department's consumer services team assisted more than 2,000 individuals across the state, the majority of which were in Northern California.
On December 9, 2017, the Department of Insurance will host the Insurance Recovery Workshop for North Bay residents at the Glaser Center-Unitarian Universalist Church in Santa Rosa from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The workshop will include department experts and insurers to provide wildfire victims with one-on-one assistance with their specific insurance claim questions. Consumers will also find experts from the Contractors State License Board and FEMA offering assistance, as they work toward recovering and rebuilding their homes and their lives.
Consumers that have any difficulty with their insurer will find the department's consumer services team stands ready to assist at 800-927-4357. The department has recovered more than $300 million dollars for consumers since Jones took office in 2011.