California wildfire damage estimates rise


Catastrophe risk modelling firm RMS has announced that economic losses from the wildfires that caused widespread damage to Sonoma, Napa, Solano, Lake, and Mendocino counties could be anything between $6 billion and $8 billion, a substantial increase on earlier estimates.

RMS said that the estimate range includes loss due to property damage, contents and business interruption caused by the fires to residential, commercial, and industrial lines of business.

Automobile or agricultural crop losses are not included. According to RMS high penetration rates of wildfire coverage in standard homeowners and commercial policies implies similar insured losses.

The new estimate is up on the earlier announcement by catastrophe modelling firm AIR Worldwide that total damage from the wildfires would be between $2 billion and $3 billion.

Multiple wildfires exacerbated by hot, dry, and windy conditions spread across eight counties of California starting in early October. Twenty-two active wildfires were reported by CAL FIRE on October 12, consuming more than 170,000 acres and destroying more than 3,500 structures.

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