Woolsey Fire / Source: UPI

Insurance Commissioner Issues Emergency Declaration to Help Fire Survivors Across the State

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – In the wake of the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California’s history, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones today declared an emergency situation, which allows insurance companies to use out-of-state adjusters to help handle the large volume of claims resulting from the Camp and Woolsey Fires.

With more than 7,600 homes destroyed so far by the Camp Fire alone, Jones directed the California Department of Insurance to issue a formal notice to insurers, licensed public adjusters and admitted carriers to make sure all claims adjusters assigned to wildfire claims, including those not licensed in California but working under a California licensed adjuster, are properly trained on the California Unfair Practices Act, Fair Claims Settlement Practices Regulations, and all laws relating to property and casualty insurance claims handling.

“Wildfire survivors need all the help we can provide, as they begin the long road to recovery,” said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. “We are taking action to make sure policyholders are protected as they begin navigating the claims process and rebuilding their homes. I am reminding all insurers and adjusters of their obligation to comply with all of the California laws and help wildfire survivors.”

Following last year’s wildfires, the commissioner received feedback from wildfire survivors, public officials, and others that some of the representations made by insurance adjusters conflicted with California laws. The formal notice issued today, reminds adjusters of California insurance laws and draws attention to several new laws enacted in the last legislative session as urgency bills and are effective for claims resulting from the recent wildfires in northern and southern California. Some of the new laws include:

  • Policyholders now have 36 months after a declared disaster to collect full replacement cost to rebuild, replace at another location, or purchase an already built home at a new location.
  • Additional living expense coverage is available for 36 months but is subject to policy provisions.

Policyholders should contact their insurance company and insurance agent to begin the claims process. They may also contact the Department of Insurance Consumer hotline at 800-927-HELP (4357) to seek assistance or visit the Department’s website for tips and advice.

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Shawn Boyd

Shawn Boyd joined Cal OES as a public information officer in 2014 after a 20-year career in television news as a reporter, anchor and executive producer. He's a Cal State Sacramento alum and former US Navy yeoman and Air Force brat.

2 thoughts on “Insurance Commissioner Issues Emergency Declaration to Help Fire Survivors Across the State

  • November 14, 2018 at 9:42 pm
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    As a former claims person, I have a thought or two as fire victims begin to file claims and figure out what next to do. It seems more consideration is required re loss prevention and risk management for homeowners and such. For example, we know that Phos-Chek is used extensively to deal with these recent wildfires. I found out that Phos-Chek is available to homeowners. Wouldn’t it make sense to educate homeowners living in affected areas that this substance is available? Were it known, perhaps homeowners could have prevented the loss of their homes in some fashion. And perhaps any rebuilds should require roof sprinkler systems along with less flammable materials, etc. Why repeat the loss of lives and property going forward when perhaps there’s a preventative solution available to individuals and businesses. Further, it also seems to me that the utility companies are not exercising effective risk management and loss prevention re their power delivery systems which may have been responsible for these horrific losses. I understand there is a law effective next year which protects utilities from damage lawsuits should said companies’ equipment cause a fire. If they need a law to protect them from lawsuits, it means they know they have a serious problem that needs fixing but don’t want to fix it before the next batch of wildfires. Not okay. Business as usual doesn’t seem to be the way to go. Just my opinion.

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