California Insurance Commissioner Wants Inventory Requirements Eased for 2018 Wildfire Survivors

October 4, 2018

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones wants insurers to assist wildfire survivors by voluntarily easing detailed personal property home inventory requirements and to follow the lead of other insurers providing at least 75 percent and up to 100 percent of contents coverage limits without the submission of a detailed inventory.

Jones issued a notice to insurers today. The notice acknowledges that the California Department of Insurance is aware of and applauds the efforts of certain insurers that have already gone above and beyond the Voluntary Expedited Claims Handling Procedures and have made efforts to accommodate survivors by offering, in some cases, up to 100 percent contents limits payment without a personal property inventory.

However, due to the massive scale of these wildfires, Jones wants all other property insurers follow suit by providing similar accommodations and is asking insurers to notify the department by Oct. 31 whether they will comply and what percentage they will provide.

Those insurers offering an amount less than 100 percent should allow policyholders the ability to recover additional benefits, if the policyholder subsequently completes a full inventory, according to Jones.

“The Carr and Mendocino Complex fires rank among the most destructive wildfires in California’s history,” Jones said in a statement. “Entire communities were decimated with residents suffering staggering losses of not only property, but tragically loss of life and injuries. I’m asking property insurers to ease the burden on traumatized survivors by voluntarily providing at least 75 percent of contents coverage without the onerous requirement of a detailed home inventory, so survivors may get on with patching their lives back together.”

Jones’ request applies to all insured homes that suffered a total loss, unless the insurer has reason to believe the home was not furnished.

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