Official estimates indicate that the devastating wildfires that plague the state will create billion dollar losses.
The California Department of Insurance has released an estimate for the damages left behind by the catastrophic wildfires that have left historic damages in the state. The department believes the insured wildfires losses will reach at least $1.05 billion.
This estimate is based on the claims received so far from the eight largest Californian insurance companies.
Following that estimate, the California Department of Insurance also revealed that it expects the figure to grow. By the time of the release of its data, there had already been 601 commercial property loss claims, 4,177 partial residential loss claims and 3,000 auto loss claims. The data was released by Dave Jones, California Insurance Commissioner, during a media call.
The large blazes first sparked in Northern California on October 8 and 9. Heavy winds on those days caused the dry woods to spread very quickly. Since that time, the Californian wildfires have spread across over 245,000 acres. An estimated 6,900 structures have been destroyed since the fires erupted. These include homes and commercial buildings, but also many wineries for which the region is known.
New wildfires are continuing to stat and spread and will certainly increase the California Department of Insurance estimate.
Last week, a new blaze began in the Santa Cruz Mountains. It continues to threaten 300 homes, said Commissioner Jones. Many of Northern California’s wine country residents now find themselves homeless. Those affected by the fires have been offered temporary housing in federal government trailers, said officials last week.
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These wildfires are now considered to be the deadliest in history. So far, the fires have been responsible for 42 deaths.
Insurance companies have been adjusting their strategies in order to keep cash available as they face massive losses this quarter from the wildfires on top of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria and others. Travelers Insurance, for example, placed a share repurchase plan on hold to keep the cash in its accounts. That said, that insurer is hardly alone in that type of strategy.
It is unknown how much higher the California Insurance Department estimates will rise by the time the fires are all under control.