California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner says most of the farmers affected by the January 2007 freeze have had their crop insurance claims settled, following his meeting with Fresno-area agricultural leaders yesterday.
The briefing took place at a Bee Sweet Citrus packing house, which is running at partial capacity due to crop losses stemming from the devastating freeze earlier this year, according to CDI.
On Jan. 25, 2007, the Commissioner issued a Declaration of Insurance Emergency, allowing more than 170 out-of-state insurance adjusters to inspect, process and settle freeze-related losses.
“Estimates put California’s crop losses from the freeze at $1.4 billion,” Poizner said. “The citrus industry was particularly hard hit, suffering an estimated $817 million in losses — or 58 percent of total agricultural losses. These figures represent losses 40 percent higher than originally thought.”
In 2004, Golden State agriculture brought in $31.8 billion in revenue to California’s economy. So the January 2007 freeze represents an approximately four percent total loss to that economic sector.
To date, the CDI has received two freeze-related consumer complaints – one agricultural and one homeowner policy. Thousands of crop loss and homeowners claims were filed as a result of the freeze. Based upon reports from both crop and homeowners insurers, most of the homeowners claims have been settled or closed, and most of the private crop insurance claims have been settled, according to the Division. CDI does not have jurisdiction over the federal crop insurance program.
“What we’re hearing is ‘so far, so good,'” Poizner said. “However, I am committed to making sure all insurance claims are handled fairly, properly and promptly.” He suggested people with unresolved claim issues to contact the CDI at 800-927-HELP.
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