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California Wildfires: The Insurance Industry's Response

Fallout continues from the devastating fires currently sweeping across northern California; latest reports count at least 17 dead and more than 2,000 buildings damaged. With these numbers likely to increase, the insurance industry has swiftly moved into high gear to respond to those affected.
During highly emotional, stressful times like these, it’s even more critical for insurance representatives and agents to be proactive and reach out to all customers who could be affected as soon as possible. Digital channels such as social media, email and text are fast and easy ways to let customers know that assistance is available.
Below is a round-up of recent news coverage, including stories of how insurance companies and their reps are helping with the recovery effort, as well as tips on how to adequately prepare for future catastrophic events.
“California Today: Now Comes the Insurance Challenge” (The New York Times):

  • Mobile units of the big home insurers, including U.S.A.A., State Farm and Allstate, have been dispatched to Santa Rosa, Calif. – the area most severely damaged, to date – to guide victims through the process of starting over.
  • According to Janet Ruiz, California representative for the Insurance Information Institute, homeowners should stay on top of their policies to make sure they have the right amount of coverage should something happen. “If you don’t let the insurance company know, then they’re not aware.”

“Northern California Wildfires: Insurance Industry Ready to Assist With ‘Massive’ Recovery” (Insurance Journal):

  • The George Petersen Insurance Agency in Santa Rosa became ground zero for several insurance companies in the days immediately following the fire. The agency has eight regional locations and 10,000 personal and commercial policies in the Sonoma County, Calif., area. As of Oct. 19, they had run between 600 and 700 claims through their offices.
  • CSAA Insurance Group, an insurance affiliate of AAA and one of the top three homeowners insurers in California, had processed about 2,500 claims as of Oct. 18.

California Wildfires to Cost Insurers Over $4.6 Billion, Moody’s Reports” (Property Casualty 360):

  • The new Moody’s report estimates insured losses for P&C insurers will be among the costliest ever recorded, at more than $4.6 billion.
  • Most of the damage will fall to homeowners and commercial property coverages, noting potential effects on other lines of business, such as auto physical damage and inland marine.


Connie Sung Moyle

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