Burned up on both ends, California’s residents are recovering from the most destructive wildfire in the state’s history, which engulfed Butte County in northern California and was finally contained on November 26, as well as the Woolsey fire that leveled homes in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.
The latest loss estimate analysis from CoreLogic as of November 27 revealed that the Camp and Woolsey wildfires together could end up costing between $15 billion and $19 billion in residential and commercial losses, with the Camp Fire responsible for the lion’s share of the bill, ranging between $11 billion and $13 billion in total losses alone, along with destroying close to 19,000 structures and leading to 84 deaths, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
“We’re seeing higher loss amounts than last year in the Santa Rosa fires,” said James Gream, chief operating officer of Crawford & Company’s Catastrophe Services, adding that the team had about 1,000 adjusters on standby and deployed rapid response teams to the affected areas during the catastrophe. Crawford’s CAT adjuster portal, RENOVO, launched earlier this year, came in especially handy as it allowed adjusters to receive their assignments using the application and get to staging locations faster, versus waiting for the Crawford team to speak with each adjuster individually.
“The timeliness is of the utmost importance nowadays, so we’re leveraging technology to help us with not just wildfires – if you think about the catastrophe activity over the past couple of years, it’s important that your communication is key, that our response time is above average and that’s what that tool allows us to do,” explained Gream.
California’s wildfire conundrum is only likely to get worse as the drying effects of climate change result in the perfect kindling each season, prompting serious considerations about where we should be living.
“We’re experiencing another very dry climate these past few months. There’s very little moisture in the air, and so combined with the seasonal winds that we get this time of year, the fires seem to be getting larger and spread faster than before,” said Martha Bane, managing director of Gallagher‘s property practice. “As we saw in many of the events last year, including the hurricanes, it can take over a year for businesses to get back up after a major disaster, and we’re still actually adjusting those losses from last year’s events. I think what’s on people’s minds right now is, do we keep continuing to rebuild in these areas that are becoming more and more susceptible to wildfires as we’ve encroached on these areas that weren’t previously built in before?”
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Published: December 05, 2018