Many shake their heads every time they pay a car insurance bill. This may explain why there is an estimated $29 billion in insurance fraud committed by one in 10 drivers on the road each year. These acts could be strategic omissions of little things like a speeding ticket from three years ago or adding a false claim of whiplash if the policyholder was in a car crash. This is rationalized as one person sticking it just a little bit to some giant corporation that is “paid for doing nothing,” but there are also claimants out there engaged in criminal behavior.
California insurance commissioner Ricardo Lara has instituted a one-year moratorium (officially listed as SB 824) that bans carriers from dropping the policies of homeowners living in areas struck by wildfires in 2019. This will provide some relief for about 800,000 homeowners who live in the areas around 16 major wildfires in California this year, including the Kincade Fire in Sonoma County. The moratorium will last until December 5, 2020.
Climate change is a reality that is getting harder and harder to deny. It’s a fact that it is responsible for melting the polar icecaps, creating increasingly volatile weather patterns and making long-term changes to the environment.
Chubb Limited is one of the leading players in the global insurance market. It offers a wide array of insurance products and continues to be a thought leader. Now according to its Third Annual Cyber Report, there should be much concern by businesses over the status of their cybersecurity. It notes that hackers or cyber breaches concern eight in 10 Americans, but this concern is undercut by employee complacency.
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.