Analyst: Wildfire Losses Estimated To Be At Least $1.5 Billion

October 29, 2007

Using the latest information on current and forecast fire perimeters and observed wind speeds, catastrophe risk modeling company AIR Worldwide Corp. estimates insured losses from California wildfires will be at least 1.5 billion. As of press time, seven fires remained burning — all more than 50 percent contained, according to the National Incident Information System.

“While there are homes still threatened, calmer winds and increased humidity have greatly reduced the risk,” said Glen Daraskevich, vice president of research and modeling at AIR Worldwide.

The latest figures released Friday by authorities in California indicated that more than 490,000 acres had been consumed and 1,802 homes have been destroyed, along with 297 outbuildings and 36 commercial properties. The Witch Fire was largely responsible for the increase from the 1,400 count earlier.

Air said it is important to note, however, that there remains significant uncertainty in the estimates. Nevertheless, while many homes and business will have survived, the number of claims is likely to be significantly larger than the number of destroyed structures, though the average size of claim for partially damaged homes is expected to be relatively small, the company said.

Source: Air Worldwide

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