Blog 3 on CA Wildfires- Insurance Company Damage Statistics through 10/25/07

October 24, 2007

We’ve heard from many adjusters participating on ClaimSmentor today that they have either been activated for storm duty or they have been notified of possible standby status.

Miscellaneous information first on prior blogs you’ll want to read if you are going:

We posted our first initial blog on the CA fires with links to many important issues about handling claims in CA : Click here

We posted the news releases on emergency adjuster approval by the CA Insurance Commissioner earlier today: Click here

Here is the prior blog on temporary housing options for adjusters and insureds: Click here

Here is the prior blog on Billingual Translation services: Click here

Here is the blog on standby calls and catastrophe codes for new adjusters: Click here

Here is an excellent guest blog by Steve Ebner on crisis management when dealing with insureds on a storm as serious as the wildfires are:  Click here   (Steve by the way is now on his way to CA to work catastrophe losses)

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Current Carrier Statistics on the storms in the news: Total still stands at 500 million expected

State Farm 1,350 (251 are totals), Zurich 800, Lloyds -unknown #:  Click here

**note the article says State Farm is #1 carrier, Zurich #2- State Farm independent adjusters are usually Eberl, Worley, EA Renfroe, and Pilot and I think IPS Staffing in Chicago handles alot of the Zurich inside commerical work

I-5 Shutdown both directions  Structures damaged in all fires 1,013 if you add up all figures in this article and about 22,000 others threatened (adding up all numbers in my head on threatened structures : Click here for full article

Note how the numbers in the two articles above differ between carrier reports of numbers and other articles.  Just with the two carriers above they are quoted at 2,150 between the two. First of all, many carrier models staff for 50 catastrophe losses per adjuster but they normally would use a different model for total losses versus claims with a lower severity code. Most carriers I have worked with will tell you that during a typical storm, you can count the losses reported day one and muliply that by 10 to determine how many claims to expect thus how many adjusters to deploy to a cat zone. However, on a storm such as this with most parties still in evacuation mode, it is highly doubtful that most insureds have reported their losses waiting to determine the extent of their damage similar to hurricane evacuees so my guess is the presently reported numbers bear no significance on the number of losses actually to be received to include smoke damage, partial fires,civil authority evacuation, ALE,etc

Interesting blog on Suspicious Activities near CA Wildfires- Is this terrorist related (that hadn’t even dawned on me!): Click here (read at own risk- I had no time to view what this site is about and what prior blogs are- just got the hit on a news alert today)

USAA- Adjusters in San Diego and more on the way: Click here   (Doesn’t Crawford service USAA claims? Who else?)

The Democratic Daily- lots of great links to local info on fires in Malibu: Click here

Farmers Insurance, 1100 claims: Click here

CNN Money Article- “The Next Battle for wildfire victims- Insurance”: Click here (Aw- lawsuit talk already?Hmmmm)

Bloomberg article-update 6- “Largest evacuation in CA history- 5 dead: Click here

Day 4- update on status of containment and damage on all 16 fires from The Daily Green: Click here

I’ll update this as more alerts come in this evening with stats. Note, I’m in the process of preparing a blog for tomorrow on the history of lawsuits and wildfires in CA to get a glimpse of what adjusters might expect in the way of lawsuits based on past history and information on 4 of the biggest plaintiffs attorneys who have been involved in prior wildfire lawsuits against carriers in CA.

Please be safe in your travels to and throughout California as you go to your assignments.

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Update 10pm CST 10/24

Update Day 4- Blog 3 on CA wildfires:

Which CA Wildfires  are they calling Arson related?

Santiago Fires called arson: click here

I’ll update this section as more is found on the cause of each fire

**update 1am 10/25: LA Times article on Arson fires in Hesperia-San Bernendino-Rosa Blaze-Temecula-Orange County fire, and the worst was the suspect killed for setting a fire today. Click here for full details on the fires they believe to be arson related (for subrogation purposes?)

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Update 11pm CST 10/24:

CNA opens operation center (must be a claim central operation) in Nashville,TN for Ca Wildfire claims: Click here

Farmers and Zurich update- 400 adjusters now in CA and here are the locations of their catastrophe centers: Click here  2,000 Farmers/ 500 Foremost thus far reported

Hartford– Adjusters on scene and info on their claim central division, contact numbers for Hartford- Interesting Hartford Claims Debit card information: Click here

Zurich- no finanicial impact expected: Click here

Liberty Mutual and Fireman’s Fund discuss their losses : Click here

Updates 10/25/07 8 am:

State Farm General, Farmers and AIG quotes (all less than 2,500 thus far?): Click here

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California Insurance Commissioner Clears the way for non CDI Emergency Adjusters to handle wildfire losses

October 24, 2007

Please see the following press alert notice received. I will update the blog by late this evening with information located on current insurance company damage assessments by 10pm CST.

From: California Department of Insurance <communications@insurance.ca.gov> Add to Addresses Block Sender
Date: Wednesday, October 24, 2007 5:08 PM
To: dimechimes
Subject: Commissioner Poizner Issues Declaration of Insurance Emergency for Southern California Fire Storms
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Attachments:  

You are subscribed to Press Releases for the California Department of Insurance. You are receiving this email because new information has recently been released.

You can access the department’s Communications Office Web page by clicking here.

INSURANCE COMMISSIONER STEVE POIZNER ISSUES DECLARATION OF INSURANCE EMERGENCY FOR

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA FIRE STORMS

Insurance Adjusters Expedited to So. California to Quicken Recovery by Local Residents and Businesses

SACRAMENTO – Today Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, in anticipation of an onslaught of severe insurance claims, issued an emergency declaration to help accelerate claims from the aftermath of the Southern California fire storms.

“I am issuing a declaration which will expedite additional insurance adjusters to California to assist survivors of the fire storms with the prompt processing of insurance claims resulting from this catastrophic event,” said Commissioner Poizner. “During this state of emergency, I want to ensure Californians that I will do all that I can to help them through this crisis and rebuild as quickly as possible. For many, the first step on the road to recovery is to cut through the red tape, have their loss documented and processed for a claim. We want to remove any unnecessary delays to the system and make sure we have enough adjusters on the job.”

The California Department of Insurance (CDI) proclamation will allow CDI-licensed insurance adjusters and insurers to use the services of non-CDI licensed adjusters, such as those from out-of-state, to assist with the processing of the multitude of anticipated insurance claims arising from the fire storms. The work performed by the non-CDI licensed adjusters must be under the active direction, control, charge, or management of a CDI-licensed insurer or adjuster.

Commissioner Poizner issued the declaration in according with the requirements of Section 14022.5 of the California Insurance Code, which provides that such use is reasonably necessary in order to adequately respond to the emergency situation.

The last time Commissioner Poizner issued this type of declaration was January 22, 2007, in the face of the extreme, California crop freezes.  Prior to that, however, the last insurance emergency declaration was issued in November 2003 in response to wildfires in Southern California.

Text of declaration can be found at www.insurance.ca.gov under LATEST NEWS.

Please visit the Department of Insurance Web site at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.HELP. Callers from out of state, please dial 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.

This service is provided free of charge by: California Department of Insurance.

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Special Thanks to Helen Palmer of the Cat-Women@yahoogroups.com for sharing the following two other press releases on this:

Associated Press Release:

Calif insurance commissioner declares insurance emergency

The Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO

California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner declared an “insurance emergency” on Wednesday because of the Southern California wildfires.

The declaration temporarily removes the ban on out-of-state claims adjusters lacking California licenses. Poizner said that lifting the ban will help insurance companies better deal with the expected crunch of fire claims. He estimated that more than $1 billion in property damage has already occurred.

Poizner last lifted the ban in January during a devastating crop freeze in the Central Valley.

During a press conference in San Francisco, Poizner also said that he is sending dozens of fraud investigators into the burned region to crack down on scam artists posing as claims adjusters and contractors. Poziner said he has already received reports of fraud, but no arrests have been made.

Poizner said fire victims can call 1-800-927-HELP or log onto http://www.insurance.ca.gov for Department of Insurance guidance.

Published: Wednesday, October 24, 2007 12:04 PDT

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LA Times News Article:

State opens door to insurance adjusters

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Declaration of ‘insurance emergency’ allows companies to bring in personnel from other parts of the country, even if they aren’t licensed in California .

By Marc Lifsher, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
11:30 AM PDT, October 24, 2007

SACRAMENTO

California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner today declared an “insurance emergency,” clearing the way for a more speedy processing of damage claims from the Southern California wildfires.

Poizner invoked special powers to suspend a law that requires insurance adjusters — the people who inspect and calculate the value of property losses — to be licensed by the state.

The declaration of an emergency allows insurance companies to bring in large numbers of out-of-state adjusters to help process thousands of claims. The unlicensed adjusters must work under the supervision of California-licensed colleagues.

“I want to ensure Californians that I will do all that I can to help them through this crisis and rebuild as quickly as possible,” Poizner said at a news conference. “For many, the first step on the road to recovery is to cut through the red tape, have their loss documented and processed for a claim.”

Poizner’s action will help insurers dispatch professional personnel to charred areas of Southern California, said Joseph Annotti, a spokesman for the Property and Casualty Insurers of America, a Chicago-based trade group that includes Allstate Corp., California’s third-largest home insurer.

He estimated that the fires, which are far from contained, would result in companies paying claims in excess of $2 billion, surpassing the state’s most costly fire to date, the blaze in the Berkeley and Oakland Hills in 1991.

“In the wake of [Hurricane] Katrina, we learned that even when insurers called out every adjuster they ever had on their payrolls, [and] people out of retirement, there still weren’t enough folks,” Annotti said. “If this helps get homes inspected more quickly and gets money to the people who need it more quickly, that’s a very positive thing.”