California Commissioner Touts Wildfire Payment Recoveries

November 16, 2009

On the eve of the one-year anniversary of the Sayre, Tea and Freeway
Fires in Southern California, Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner announced in a press statement Friday that the California Department of Insurance (CDI) has
recovered $16.9 million from insurance companies by standing up for
consumers and helping to mediate disputes in those fires and more than
$17.4 million for victims of 2008 wildfires throughout the state.

“We continue to be vigilant and help whomever calls and asks for
assistance in recouping money from insurance companies,” said
Commissioner Poizner, in the statement. “I am pleased that our efforts have helped
victims of those terrible wildfires last year recover almost $17
million to help rebuild their homes and rebuild their lives.”

To date, the department has recovered $17.4 million for 2008 wildfires throughout the state. That includes:

  • $13.2 million for Sayre/Sylmar wildfire survivors (124 total complaints including 13 for underinsurance)
  • $3 million for Tea wildfire survivors (41 total complaints including 19 for underinsurance)
  • $873,714 for the Triangle wildfire survivors (23 total complaints including 3 for underinsurance)

CDI was able to recover these funds for consumers that notified the department of their problems and suspected unfair treatment by their
insurer. CDI received 234 consumer complaints since late 2008.

Of the 234 complaints received from consumers, 40 have involved
underinsurance allegations. CDI recovered more than $2.8 million for
consumers who had complaints stemming from underinsurance issues.

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