The December wildfires in the Southern California region caused nearly $2 billion in losses, with more than 13,000 claims filed by homeowners and businesses, SCPR reported.
A large portion of the insurance claims filed were a result of the Thomas Fire, which broke records as the largest fire in state history. It burned nearly 274,000 acres and 1,000 structures in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.
Statewide, the December fires led to nearly $12 billion in damages, according to the California Department of Insurance. At a press conference Wednesday, state Department of Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said the devastation may lead to a drop in the number of insurers willing to provide coverage, SCPR reported. That would add to the number of insurers that have refused to cover other areas of Los Angeles that have been prone to wildfires.
That doesn’t include the mudslides in Montecito, which killed 20 people and destroyed 115 homes in early January. Insurance companies often won’t cover damage from mudslides unless it is linked to another disaster, such as wildfires. In this case, it is likely victims of the mudslides will be able to recoup much of their losses, experts have said.
Smaller fires like the Skirball blaze, which burned 475 acres, damaged homes in one of Los Angeles’ glitziest neighborhoods. Approximately $6.3 billion worth of residential real estate in Bel Air was found in the burn zone, according to estimates from Zillow. Those that were damaged include Rupert Murdoch’s 16-acre Moraga Vineyard, a $6.7 million home on Linda Flora Drive and the home of retired NBA player Andrei Kirilenko. [SCPR] — Natalie Hoberman