Aon: California Wildfire Claims Reach $1B as Peak Season Begins

The U.S. economy has sustained $2 billion in wildfire losses – the highest in eight years, according to the latest edition of Impact Forecasting’s Global Catastrophe Recap monthly report.

The report, which evaluates the impact of the natural disaster events that occurred worldwide during September 2015, reveals that several wildfires impacted California during the month. The Valley Fire, which occurred northwest of San Francisco, was the third-most damaging wildfire in state history, killing four people and destroying 1,958 homes and other structures. Forecast economic losses from the fire were in excess of $1.5 billion, with preliminary insured losses estimated at more than $925 million.

Meanwhile, the Butte Fire, which occurred southeast of Sacramento and was the seventh-most damaging wildfire in state history, killed two people and caused total estimated economic losses of at $450 million, with insurance losses expected to be above $225 million.

With peak U.S. wildfire season in California having started in late September and lasting through early November, wildfires in 2015 have already caused more damage and financial loss in the U.S. than in any other year since 2007.

“The severity of the September wildfires in California serves as a reminder of how costly the peril can be for the insurance industry. With insurers facing more than $1.0 billion in claims payouts for the Valley and Butte fires alone, it makes it the costliest year for the peril since 2007,” said Adam Podlaha, head of Impact Forecasting. “The peak of the California wildfire season is just beginning, and Impact Forecasting remains well suited to help our clients assess their risks given our brushfire model for the region.”

Elsewhere in September:

Source: Aon Benfield