California Wildfires: Relief For Homeowners and Businesses

Contacts

Principal, Director Business Insurance Division, West Region
+1 (858) 5877574
August 31, 2020California

Homeowners and businesses damaged or destroyed by the recent wildfires in California can expect additional assistance from insurance companies.

On August 27, 2020, the California Insurance Commissioner issued a notice to accelerate the filing of claims following California’s state of emergency declaration stemming from the summer wildfires in California.

Expedited Claims Filing
The Insurance Commissioner’s notice supports the rapid response efforts of many insurance carriers helping Californians with catastrophic fire losses.

The California Insurance Commission asked insurers to provide for the following: 

  • Minimum four-month advance payment of Loss of Use, Fair Rental Value, or Additional Living Expenses 
  • Minimum 60-day billing grace period to allow for lost or destroyed renewal notices 
  • Advance payment of at least 25% of policy limits for personal property — without the completion of an inventory 
  • Accepting any inventory form that contains substantially the same information as a company-specific form 
  • Accepting an inventory that includes groupings of personal property, such as clothing, shoes, books, or food items rather than listing each individual item 
  • Expediting payment of vehicle damage claims covered under comprehensive loss coverage 
  • Cooperating with consolidated debris removal efforts coordinated through city, county and state agencies, unless the insurer can provide more rapid debris removal outside of this effort

There for you in the Moments that Matter
The team at Marsh & McLennan Agency (MMA) is here to help individuals and businesses navigate the claims process. If you need assistance, your MMA service team can help coordinate claims filing with your insurance company and provide information and updates throughout the process.

To ensure a smooth claims process, individuals and businesses should gather as much documentation as possible describing the assets and property. The greater the detail, the faster and easier it will be when filing the claim.

To help insureds, some carriers have established emergency local claim centers for short- and long-term alternative housing, pet boarding, and cash advances for living expenses. Contact your MMA team to learn about any special resources your insurance carrier may have available to assist affected individuals and businesses.

Wildfire Preparedness – Don’t wait.
For those unaffected by the wildfires, preparation is key to avoiding a total loss or significant damage.

Because of the growing number and severity of wildfires in the West, homeowners and businesses need to plan ahead. To learn more about how to prepare, review MMA’s recommendations for wildfire preparedness or download MMA’s wildfire checklist.

Review Your Policy
Among the first steps to be taken to protect your home or business is a review of your fire insurance coverage.

Due to rising construction costs, policyholders can be left with a significant gap between the cost of rebuilding and the amount covered by the carrier. That’s particularly true in rural areas, where wildfires over the past few years have resulted in a scarcity of contractors and materials.

The MMA team can review your insurance policies and recommend a course of action to make sure you are fully covered. We are here to help.