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CA Department of Insurance

Insurance regulator steps in to help hundreds of wildfire survivors with claims

News: 2017 Press Release

For Release: December 21, 2017
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
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Insurance regulator steps in to help hundreds of wildfire survivors with claims
Jones’ formal notice requests insurers lift requirements for detailed home inventories

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — In the midst of the holiday season, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones is asking insurers to help California wildfire survivors who are overwhelmed with the task of navigating the claims process by providing relief from detailed home inventories and following the lead of other insurers providing up to 100 percent of contents (personal property) coverage limits without a detailed inventory.

"These families have endured unimaginable loss and pain," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "I'm asking insurers to ease their burden by providing up to 100 percent payment for contents coverage without the onerous requirement of a detailed home inventory, so they may get on with rebuilding their lives."

The notice, issued today to insurers, comes after the department held a claims workshop in Santa Rosa on December 9 and heard from several hundred policyholders that they were burdened with insurer requirements for detailed home inventories in order to receive payment for personal property coverage.

The notice, does point out that the department is aware and applauds the efforts of some insurers that have gone above and beyond the Voluntary Expedited Claims Handling Procedures and have made significant efforts to accommodate insured by offering, in some cases, up to 100 percent contents limits payment without an inventory.

While Jones applauds these efforts to put insured first, he is requesting all other insurers follow suit by providing similar accommodations and is asking insurers to notify the department by January 8, 2018 whether they will comply. Those insurers offering an amount less than 100 percent should allow policyholders the ability to recover additional benefits, if the policyholder subsequently completes a full inventory.

The department advises policyholders already working with a claims adjuster to develop a settlement plan that best serves their needs, which may include taking the time to complete a home inventory.

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Led by Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, the California Department of Insurance is the consumer protection agency for the nation's largest insurance marketplace and safeguards all of the state’s consumers by fairly regulating the insurance industry. Under the Commissioner’s direction, the Department uses its authority to protect Californians from insurance rates that are excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory, oversee insurer solvency to pay claims, set standards for agents and broker licensing, perform market conduct reviews of insurance companies, resolve consumer complaints, and investigate and prosecute insurance fraud. Consumers are urged to call 1-800-927-4357 with any questions or contact us at via webform or online chat. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800-927-4357. Teletypewriter (TTY), please dial 800-482-4833.

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