California public adjuster Matt Blumkin was with me and other members of Merlin Law Group last night telling a story about how a California wildfire required his entire neighborhood to be evacuated and what needed to be done to clean the smoke and ash which penetrated the homes throughout his community. Ironically, Matt was in New York City negotiating with an insurer over a Malibu wildfire that destroyed a celebrity mansion when he got news from his wife about the emergency order to evacuate. Luckily, his home was not destroyed, but the smoke left residue outside and inside his residence. Continue Reading Wildfire Smoke and Ash Cleanup Disputes

In 2017 and 2018, California experienced devastating wildfires, during which thousands of structures, homes, and businesses were destroyed. California insurers scrambled to adjust the thousands of claims but it was quickly recognized that they were not prepared to timely handle losses due to a large-scale natural disaster. The California legislature responded, enacting several amendments to the law extending the time policyholders had to collect additional living expenses and replacement costs. Continue Reading Has the Statute of Limitations Passed To File A Lawsuit On My California Wildfire Claim?

The Kincade Fire recently burned nearly 80,000 acres of Northern Sonoma County with smoke traveling far and wide. Our incredible firefighters from across the country teamed up to bring this emergency to 100% containment with only 300 structures destroyed. Compare that to several thousand structures destroyed in the Tubbs and Atlas Fires in 2017 and the devastatingly sad Camp Fire which cost so many lives last year. Continue Reading What California Wineries with Wildfire Insurance Claims Need to Know

Many insurance companies thought they would have to pay no more than $5,000 for each California wildfire claim but are ending up paying hundreds of thousands if not millions. Continue Reading Now That Insurers Can’t Legally Enforce Their $5,000 Wildfire Smoke Damage Caps, What Have They Done To Make Up For Their Unanticipated Losses?

Losses from wildfires across the United States over the past decade have added up to $5.1 billion.1 In addition to damage typically expected from fires (smoke, soot, ash, water from fire-fighting hoses and extinguisher chemicals), some homeowners may face the additional risk of damage caused by suppression efforts, specifically aviation-based firefighting. Continue Reading Hidden Damage from Wildfire Claims

A recent decision by the Supreme Court of Wisconsin1 might predict how other courts would analyze coverage under commercial general liability insurance policies for wildfires. In May 2013, a fire broke out on forest land owned by Lyme St. Croix Forest Company. The fire burned nearly 7,500 acres over the course of three days and damaged real and personal property owned by various individuals and businesses. Continue Reading Wildfire Considered One Occurrence Despite Damaging Numerous Properties

Most homeowners and commercial insurance policies contains exclusions for loss or damages caused by mudflow or other similar occurrences. An example of on such exclusion is included below:

b. Earth Movement and Settlement, meaning earthquake, which includes land shock wavers or tremors before, during or after a volcanic eruption; landslide; mudflow; sinkhole; earth sinking, rising or shifting; clay shrinkage or other expansion or contraction of soils or organic materials; decay of buried or organic materials; setline cracking or expansion of foundation;

Continue Reading California Mudslide Exclusions Unenforceable Where Wildfires Caused Slide

Last week, Richard Tutwiler of Tutwiler and Associates, Matthew Garnett of Vernis and Bowling, Heather Filegar of Southern Healthy Homes, and I presented at the 2018 Windstorm Insurance Conference at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel.

Rick Tutwiler who will be the President of the Windstorm Insurance Network in 2020, wanted to expand the course offering presented this year, so we proposed a topic that had not been presented in the past: Where Wind Meets Fire: Interesting Issues in Claims Where the Wind Brings Fire, Ash, Smoke, Soot and Ash to Other Properties. Continue Reading Where Wind Meets Fire – Wildfire

Last month, the California Department of Insurance issued a notice to insurance companies, insurance agents, and public adjusters regarding the recent wildfires in the state. Although the notice is directed to insurance companies, agents, and adjusters, it provides useful information for policyholders affected by the wildfires. According to the Department of Insurance press release discussing the notice, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones directed the Department to issue the notice following reports that insurance adjusters were giving wildfire victims incorrect information about their property insurance claims. Continue Reading Department of Insurance Bulletin Provides Notice to Insurance Companies and Useful Information for Wildfire Victims

The buzz amongst policyholders about what insurance owe for additional living expenses due to the Northern California Wildfires is still going strong as Southern California braces this week for Santa Ana winds. With predicted gusts up to 70 mph, Southern Californians are in real danger of the potential for wildfires. Recently, I’ve received quite a few calls from victims of the Northern California wildfires asking what their rights are under their additional living expenses portion of their insurance policies. Most policies limit policyholders to one year of additional living expenses (ALE) or the reasonable time to rebuild. In the recent Northern California wildfires, California Governor Jerry Brown declared a State of Emergency which means that every policyholder with proper additional living expense coverage under their policy has an extension of an additional year for ALE. Continue Reading California Wildfires Declared State of Emergency – How Does That Impact My Additional Living Expenses?