Some of the most beautiful properties in California are unfortunately in areas prone to fires and other human-made or natural disasters. Those who wish and can afford to build there nevertheless still want to avoid receiving money property losses – there has been $170 billion paid in property losses here in the U.S. since 2016. With climate change a reality, that number is likely to continue to rise. This has led insurers to get involved with the planning and building of properties.
Not a week seems to pass without news of a giant settlement against negligent businesses. Whether it is the utilities of California being blamed for fires in the last three years with $30 billion in liability to the utilities, or the recent billion award against Roundup, the cost to insurance companies is steep, with the California Camp wildfire threatening to put at least one insurance company out of business.
Federal officials at the Bureau of Land Management and the Forestry Service announced that they had come up with a plan to save sagebrush habitats in Western states. The 248-page report balances the needs of cattle ranchers, recreation usage as well as 350 species of animals. The document also reputes to be a paradigm shift in reducing invasive species of plants and brush fires in the Sagebrush Steppe throughout the west, which includes Eastern California.
State Farm Insurance settled a class action lawsuit brought by 4.7 million customers. The plaintiffs alleged that the carrier, which is the largest property casualty insurance company in the country, cheated its customers by using substandard motor vehicle replacement parts. In a years-long case that seemed more like a fictional legal thriller instead of real life, State Farm opted to settle outside of court for a total of $250 million.
California has experienced its two most destructive wildfire seasons back to back in 2017 and 2018. The fires in 2018 alone burned hundreds of thousands of acres, destroyed an estimated 18,000 homes and structures and cost nearly a hundred human lives. The official tally on insurance claims is $9.05 billion but is still growing.
The San Francisco-based utilities company PG&E has filed bankruptcy to protect itself from liability for wildfires in Northern California in 2017 and 2018, including the Camp Fire last November. The biggest power utility in the country with listed assets of $71.39 billion and liability of $51.69 billion employs 24,000 people and provides services to 16 million customers. As is usually the case with Chapter 11, the company plans to pay all its suppliers of goods and services it receives after the filing.
A Washington Court of Appeals ruled in 2018 that adjusters could be named individually in bad faith lawsuits nationwide. This news has reportedly sent shockwaves through the insurance industry. The Keodalah Decision involves plaintiffs who filed a suit against Allstate Insurance and company’s adjuster.
The California insurance industry will be reeling for some time after the Camp and Woolsey wildfires. However, these companies enter into a contract with their customers, so how they handle that contract will have a large impact on how they move forward. Will they retain old customers? Will they gain new ones? What types of properties they are trusted to underwrite in the future?
We love our pets, but our pets do not always love other people. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III) and State Farm insurance, one third of all homeowner liability claims involve dog bites and dog-related injuries. Industry experts believe that this ends up costing insurers about $700 million annually.
The unthinkable has happened, and you have suffered a terrible accident. Fortunately, you purchased insurance, and you are relieved that your damages will be covered by insurance. But after you file your claim, you are stunned when your insurance company offers you a much lower amount than you need.