Claims Update on So. Cal Brushfires from IINC

October 30, 2003

Candysse Miller, executive director of the Insurance Information Network of California (IINC), released the following statement regarding claims on the Southern California brushfires:

“Our surveys of the insurance industry have confirmed a total of 3,430 claims filed from the Southern California firestorms as of 4 p.m. today (Wednesday).

“We are hearing reports of up to 2,000 homes claimed by the Southern California firestorms. Based on these reports, the wildfires can be expected to be at least the second most costly brushfire in California history. At 2,900 homes lost and $1.7 billion in insurance claims paid, the Oakland Hills fire remains at this point not only the most destructive brushfire in California history, but also the tenth costliest disaster in U.S. history.

“Using historical data as guideposts, we know that the current fires will exceed those of the Laguna and the Topanga-Malibu areas 10 years ago this week. In Laguna, 441 structures were lost, resulting in $350 million in insured losses; in Topanga-Malibu, 323 structures were destroyed, resulting in $375 million in insurance losses.

“We’re not yet done with these very unpredictable fires, which will clearly cost hundreds of millions of dollars, and are likely to reach upwards of $1 billion in insured losses.

“It is important to remember that the insurance industry has confronted catastrophic fires before, and while the current firestorms are clearly of historic magnitude, the industry not only has the ability to pay these claims, but also is already writing checks to fire victims.”

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