Published on November 4th, 2017
by James Ayre
There’s been more than $3.3 billion in insured losses caused by the wildfires in California so far this year, with the figure expected to rise, the California Department of Insurance has revealed.
Altogether, the figures also relate to: 728 commercial property losses, 4,712 total residential losses, 10,016 partial residential losses, and 3,200 personal auto losses — as revealed by California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones on a recent conference call with media.
“Since erupting on Oct. 8 and 9, the blazes in parts of Northern California have burnt more than 245,000 acres (99,148 hectares) and destroyed an estimated 8,900 buildings as of Monday, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection,” Reuters reports.
“The fires, which Jones said are now 99% contained, caused 43 deaths, including a firefighter. California is the largest US insurance market, where insurers collect about $289 billion in premiums per year, Jones said. The $3.3 billion total is more than triple a $1.05 billion preliminary insured loss estimate by Jones on Oct 19.”
“I am concerned that the fires we just experienced are not an anomaly and may represent the new normal,” Jones noted. “We know that the climate is changing and the temperature has been rising.”
Well, if only that was the case … the reality is that things are slated to get considerably worse than they were even this year. Rather than this year’s wildfire season becoming the “new normal,” it’s more likely just a stopover on a trip somewhere much more extreme.
Interestingly, some of the damage this year occurred in neighborhoods in Santa Rosa that had previously been determined to be at low risk of fire — which could lead to insurers changing their criteria for determining risk, and thus doing less business with people in living in such places, according to Jones.
About the Author
James Ayre ‘s background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.