The Camp Fire rages through the town of Paradise, Calif., in Butte County Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. (Neal Waters/Zuma Press/TNS)

Insured losses from 2017 wildfires top $11.4 billion

Insured losses from last fall’s devastating California wildfires are now more than $11.4 billion – 25 percent more than reported last month, the state’s insurance commissioner said Monday.

The state has already assisted more than 5,000 survivors of the November fires, which left 89 people dead and thousands homeless, California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara said.

“To the residents of Paradise, Butte, Malibu, Los Angeles and the other communities who have lost so much — we stand with you on the long road to recovery,” Lara said.

The $11.4 billion in insured losses is up more than $2.3 billion from the figure the department reported in December.

More than 13,000 insured homes and businesses suffered a total loss out of more than 46,000 claims reported by insurers, according to Lara.

Department staffers have been working in the fire areas and providing expertise and counsel to survivors at Local Assistance and Disaster Recovery Centers in Northern and Southern California, Lara said.

Workshops are planned in coming weeks to help the survivors with their insurance needs.

Lara said the department has also deployed its law enforcement staff to devastated communities in the aftermath of the fires to deter scam artists who might prey on vulnerable wildfire survivors.

The department’s enforcement team also escorted homeowners and insurance claims adjusters through blocked roads and hazards to allow them to inspect more than 1,200 properties and expedite claims for property and auto losses so people can get paid faster.

-Kathleen Kirkwood, Bay City News

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