FILE- This Dec. 3, 2018, file photo shows homes leveled by the Camp Fire line the Ridgewood Mobile Home Park retirement community in Paradise, Calif. Insurance claims from California’s deadly November 2018 wildfires have topped $11.4 billion. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)

Insurance claims from deadly California wildfires top $11.4B

About $8 billion of the losses are from the fire that levelled the town of Paradise

Insurance claims from California’s deadly November 2018 wildfires have topped $11.4 billion, making the series of fires one of the most expensive in state history, officials said Monday.

More than $8 billion of those losses are from the fire that levelled the town of Paradise, killing 86 people and destroying roughly 15,000 homes, state Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara said. Roughly $3 billion worth of damage is related to two Southern California wildfires that ignited during the same week.

“We have a long way to go before we can feel whole again,” Lara said after announcing the numbers.

READ MORE: California wildfire costliest natural disaster in 2018

The $11.4 billion total is slightly below the losses claimed from 2017 wildfires that ripped through Northern California wine country in October and Southern California in December.

While far more houses were destroyed in last year’s wildfires, home values are much lower in rural California communities, officials said last year.

The losses could keep rising. In all, wildfire insurance claims in California last year neared $12.4 billion, Lara said.

The new numbers come as Pacific Gas & Electric Corp., the nation’s largest utility, prepares to file for bankruptcy as early as Tuesday. State officials have not yet determined the cause of last year’s wildfires, but PG&E equipment is suspected in the Paradise blaze.

California law makes utilities entirely liable for damage from wildfires sparked by their equipment, even if the utility isn’t found negligent. PG&E has said it faces billions in possible damages from fires.

READ MORE: Climate change doubled risk of B.C.’s record-setting 2017 wildfires: study

Regardless of what happens with the utility, California’s insurers are prepared to pay out all the claims, most of which were filed by residential property owners, Lara said.

“We are confident that the insurers have the money to make sure that we make people whole,” Lara said.

Kathleen Ronayne, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Abbotsford Hospice hosts fourth annual memorial butterfly release

Event on Saturday, July 27 at Tanglebank Gardens

Rail group to bring plan to Abbotsford council

Group is calling for plans to run trains on rail line between Chilliwack and Surrey

Mt. Baker climbers reach summit in memory of Const. John Davidson

Team includes Abbotsford Police members, Davidson’s 3 kids and others

UPDATE: New Abbotsford ER expansion expected to welcome patients in October 2020

Deadline for construction proposals closes, but construction timeline unknown

3 dead, 2 missing in northern B.C: Here’s what we know so far

Lucas Fowler, 23, and his girlfriend, Chynna Deese, were shot and killed on July 14 or 15

Coroner investigating after body recovered from Okanagan Lake

Penticton fire department assisted the RCMP with the recovery of a body Saturday

Overdoses overwhelming in B.C. Interior

Part two: Who’s affected by the current opioid crisis

Kelowna cab driver charged with sexual assault

RCMP received a report May 28 alleging a taxi passenger had been sexually assaulted by a cab driver

Jurors talk about trial of U.S. man convicted in 1987 murders of B.C. couple

Three jurors offer a window into deliberations during the trial

Tubing world record broken on Vancouver Island

But record for length of tubes linked together still has to be confirmed

The Beaverton’s sharp satire thrives in polarized political climate

Canadian TV series’ third season to air Tuesday on CTV after “The Amazing Race Canada”

VIDEO: Young couple found dead in northern B.C. had been shot, police say

Chynna Noelle Deese of the U.S. and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found along Highway 97

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Most Read