There’s been more than $3.3 billion in insured losses caused by the wildfires in California so far this year, with the figure expected to rise, the California Department of Insurance has revealed.
Altogether, the figures also relate to: 728 commercial property losses, 4,712 total residential losses, 10,016 partial residential losses, and 3,200 personal auto losses — as revealed by California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones on a recent conference call with media.
“Since erupting on Oct. 8 and 9, the blazes in parts of Northern California have burnt more than 245,000 acres (99,148 hectares) and destroyed an estimated 8,900 buildings as of Monday, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection,” Reuters reports.
“The fires, which Jones said are now 99% contained, caused 43 deaths, including a firefighter. California is the largest US insurance market, where insurers collect about $289 billion in premiums per year, Jones said. The $3.3 billion total is more than triple a $1.05 billion preliminary insured loss estimate by Jones on Oct 19.”
“I am concerned that the fires we just experienced are not an anomaly and may represent the new normal,” Jones noted. “We know that the climate is changing and the temperature has been rising.”
Well, if only that was the case … the reality is that things are slated to get considerably worse than they were even this year. Rather than this year’s wildfire season becoming the “new normal,” it’s more likely just a stopover on a trip somewhere much more extreme.
Interestingly, some of the damage this year occurred in neighborhoods in Santa Rosa that had previously been determined to be at low risk of fire — which could lead to insurers changing their criteria for determining risk, and thus doing less business with people in living in such places, according to Jones.