What can adjusters learn from the 2003 Cedar Fire regarding litigation and complaints on Claims from CA Wildfires? Blog 4-CA Wildfires

Unfortunately, the news media is already reporting on claim issues surrounding the CA wildfires. In order to keep history from repeating itself, we should take a look at just what did happen regarding litigation in CA in the aftermath of the 2003 CA Wildfires so we avoid the same pitfalls in claim handling this 2007 Wildfire season. Here are some issues already in the news:

Public Adjuster Activity– see the reader comments from public adjusters and insurance adjusters going back and forth on this blog found at www.signsonsandiego.com blog:   Click here

CNN Money Article “When Insurers Play Rough- Discussion on 2003 issues on being underinsured: Click here

Note Bob Hunter of the Consumer Federation of America is quoted in the above article

Scams following fires by San Diego District Attorney’s office- make sure to read comments about adjusters: Click here

Great article on CA Insurance Commissioner saying hundreds of lawsuits were filed in aftermath of 2003 for insurance companies underinsuring claims and favorable outcome from insurer standpoint on one of the trials: Click here

5.1 million dollar verdict for insurer, Fidelity lowballing claims in 2003 wildfire- 2006 article- over 120 cases to follow in court (over 200 filed on Replacement cost coverage issues according to article): Click here

2004 Article- Lawsuits  and Class Action against 4 major carriers for renewal premiums charged in after 2003 wildfires on properties that had been a total loss in the 2003 fires(what will they do this year? This was news to me learned while researching this article): click here

Note they site 4 major plaintiff lawfirms in CA  in this article as:

“The plaintiffs are represented by attorneys from four of

California’s top plaintiff and insurance bad faith law firms:

Michael Bidart and William Shernoff of Shernoff Bidart & Darras LLP;

Jerry Ramsey of Engstrom Lipscomb & Lack; Tom Girardi of Girardi &

Keese; and Harvey Levine and Richard Huver of Levine, Steinberg, Miller

& Huver, who have been volunteering at fire victim outreaches all

over Southern California to provide highly sought after answers

about insurance policies and coverage.”


Looking up their websites, I’ve listed below any mention of CA Bad Faith lawsuits:

http://www.sbd-law.com/CM/LP/Homeowners-Insurance-Claim-Denial-LP.asp   Not much mentioned on the 2003 cases

http://www.elllaw.com/mercury.htm   Wow! The Engstrom, Lipscomb, & Lack group was the lawfirm handling the famous Erin Brockovich case!  Click here for a list of the bad faith cases stating they handled Northridge Earthquake suits, Class action against Allstate and cases against State Farm and others following the 2003 fires: Click here for the bad faith info

Levine,Steinburg, Miller & Huver: Click here   I didn’t see any case history here on the 2003 fires although they are listed in the above article

Girard and Keese: Click here        See info on cases 200 million against Farmers for Northridge EQ claims

Here’s another very interesting interview between an expert witness on CA insurance cases and a plaintiff attorney in CA on Replacement cost coverage and claims (replacement cost/underinsurance/lowballing claims seem to the the biggest issues I found in numerous articles I read on this): click here

Miscellaneous Wildfire Articles and news:

Great ISO Report-“Trial by Fire” on Insurers use of technology when dealing with wildfire: Click here

Insurance News Network of CA update- projections 1 Billion in insured losses:  Click here



NY Times Article- 1,500 Insurer losses- 1 Billion: Click here

The Fires have disrupted the flow of legal work as law firms face numbers of disrupted employees and office closures: Click here  

(Which one of you want to work their personal claims……will we have more Dickie Scruggs/Politicians/ Anti Carrier sentiments in those type of lawsuits in CA? Maybe in addition to adding wind to government coverage with the Flood program , the politicians will now try to add wildfires also to the 2007 Multi Peril Act – see prior blog if you aren’t familiar with those House and Senate bills)

San Diego County State Park closures (for Adjusters looking for RV parking spots): Click here

The Blame Game (good blog on fires)-fingerpointing in fire agencies begins before embers die: Click here

National Interactive Fire Agency declares this Santa Ana wind event to be over and provides status on each fire: Click here

Other news on Insurance response to CA wildfires:

Nationwide responds-press release: click here

Property and Casualty news article 10/25 “Claims Pour In” , total count 1,700 plus/up to 1.6 billion in losses: click here

I don’t have time today to complete all of the intended comments on the 2003 lawsuits and will get back to finishing this up as time allows. I just received a call about a hurricane brewing and will update the blog with that shortly. I’ll be travelling back to FL tonight for the weekend and return to TN for next week’s anguishing surgery for my daughter at Vanderbilt for her recently discovered sacrum tumor. I suspect that I will not be available for blog entries next week with the exception of Monday as she will be undergoing operations on Tuesday followed by the major surgery Wednesday. I appreciate the prayers and support many of our readers have sent following the prior blog about this unfortunate discovery and our earlier absence from the blog at the end of September when we learned of her problem.


Update 3:40 pm- Chubb at 25, State Farm at 1,579(298 uninhabitable), Farmers at 1,725: click here

One Response to What can adjusters learn from the 2003 Cedar Fire regarding litigation and complaints on Claims from CA Wildfires? Blog 4-CA Wildfires

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