California Recovers $27 Million for San Diegans

November 10, 2009

California’s Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner yesterday announced that the Department of Insurance (CDI) has recovered more than $27 million from insurance companies in the aftermath of the devastating Witch Creek fire in San Diego County that killed two people, destroyed 1,650 structures and burned more than 197,000 acres in Oct. 2007.

“I am pleased that the Department’s aggressive action on behalf of consumers has resulted in more than $27 million back in the pockets of wildfire survivors,” said Commissioner Poizner. “Insurers understand that I simply will not allow them to give consumers the runaround. I have personally called the CEOs of major insurance companies to make sure that individual claims are paid out quickly. I will continue to put pressure on any insurer not playing by the rules, and if they still refuse to honor their agreements with fire survivors, I will take appropriate action to enforce the law.”

The department was able to recover funds for many consumers who notified the department of their problems and the suspected unfair treatment by their insurer. The department received 391 consumer complaints since late 2007.

Of the 391 complaints received from consumers, 70 have involved underinsurance allegations. The department recovered more than $4 million for consumers who had complaints stemming from underinsurance issues. As a result of the 2007 wildfires, nearly 40,000 claims were filed. The 2007 fires caused $2.3 billion in losses.

California has suffered through the most damaging consecutive wildfire seasons on record.

Records show that since 1932, when the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection started keeping tracks, that six of the top 20 worst fires in state history in acres burned and structures destroyed occurred in 2007 and 2008. Those six include last November’s Sayre fire in Los Angeles County that burned 11,262 acres and reduced 604 buildings to ashes.

The six fires combined killed 22 people, burned 3,734 structures and torched nearly 1 million acres. The department has recovered more than $50 million for insured residents from the 2007

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.