At least $9bn in insurance claims from California fires

December 13, 2018
Flames from the Camp Fire burn near a home atop a ridge near Big Bend, California

Insurance claims from the recent devastating California wildfires that killed at least 89 people and destroyed 19,000 homes and businesses have reached at least $9 billion, the state's insurance commissioner said Wednesday.

"The devastating wildfires of 2018 were the deadliest and costliest wildfire catastrophes in California's history," said California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones.

"The tragic deaths ... and over $9 billion in insured losses to date are shocking numbers—behind the insured loss numbers are thousands of people who've been traumatized by unfathomable loss."

He said the figures released in connection with the three wildfires—the Camp Fire, The Woolsey Fire and the Hill Fire— are preliminary.

State and federal authorities announced on Tuesday that it will cost at least $3 billion to clear debris from the blazes.

Most of the insurance payouts—some $7 billion—concern the Camp Fire in Northern California, which wiped out the town of Paradise and killed 86 people, making it the deadliest wildfire in recent California history.

Three other people died in the Woolsey Fire, which destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses in Southern California, including the homes of several celebrities in Malibu.

The third blaze, the Hill Fire, also in Southern California, scorched thousands of acres in the Santa Rosa Valley.

Insurance claims for those fires are expected to top $2 billion.

Nancy Kincaid, spokeswoman for the California Department of Insurance, said claims could very well exceed the record-breaking $10.4 billion paid out last year following deadly wildfires that ripped through the state's wine country.

"These are the first numbers we've recorded so far ... and it's possible that very quickly last year's record will be broken," she told AFP.

Explore further: What makes a California wildfire the worst? Deaths and size

Related Stories

Fast-moving fire scorches northern California

November 9, 2018

A rapidly spreading, late-season wildfire in northern California has burned 20,000 acres of land and prompted authorities to issue evacuation orders for thousands of people.

Wildfires spark evacuations in northern California

July 2, 2018

Californian authorities have issued red flag weather warnings and mandatory evacuation orders after a series of wildfires fanned by high winds and hot temperatures ripped through thousands of acres.

NASA's ARIA maps California wildfires from space

November 13, 2018

California continues to be plagued by wildfires—including the Woolsey Fire near Los Angeles and the Camp Fire in Northern California, now one of the deadliest in the state's history. NASA satellites are observing these ...

Recommended for you

What happened before the Big Bang?

March 26, 2019

A team of scientists has proposed a powerful new test for inflation, the theory that the universe dramatically expanded in size in a fleeting fraction of a second right after the Big Bang. Their goal is to give insight into ...

Probiotic bacteria evolve inside mice's GI tracts

March 26, 2019

Probiotics—which are living bacteria taken to promote digestive health—can evolve once inside the body and have the potential to become less effective and sometimes even harmful, according to a new study from Washington ...

Cellular microRNA detection with miRacles

March 26, 2019

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short noncoding regulatory RNAs that can repress gene expression post-transcriptionally and are therefore increasingly used as biomarkers of disease. Detecting miRNAs can be arduous and expensive as ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.