California Department of Insurance says wildfires losses at $3.3 billion and rising

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 31, 2017 4:38 PM

By Suzanne Barlyn

(Reuters) - The California Department of Insurance said on Tuesday that insured losses for deadly wildfires in the state total more than $3.3 billion, based on claims reported by 15 insurers, and the figure will rise.

The number includes claims for 10,016 partial residential losses, 4,712 total residential losses, 728 commercial property losses, and 3,200 personal auto losses, California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said on a media call.

Since erupting on Oct. 8 and 9, the blazes in parts of Northern California have blackened more than 245,000 acres. The fires, which Jones said are now 99 percent contained, caused 43 deaths, including a firefighter.

"I am concerned that the fires we just experienced are not an anomaly and may represent the new normal," Jones said.

California is the largest U.S. insurance market, where insurers collect about $289 billion in premiums per year, Jones said.

(Reporting by Suzanne Barlyn; editing by Susan Thomas)