The San Francisco Chronicle published a New Year’s Day story, “These Elite Napa Estates Are Releasing Wines From a Fire-ravaged Year. Do They Taste Smoky?”1 The article discussed the problems Napa producers faced concerning smoke residue in their wine production. Many are now releasing wine made during the chaotic 2020 fire season: 

Continue Reading Vineyard Smoke Claims—Does Your Wine Have a Smoky Flavor?

The insurance landscape in California has become more precarious as a result of the severe and incessant wildfires. The great urban fires of the 19th century caused many insurers to become insolvent. These great wildfires, not even in urban areas, are having similar property insurance market impacts—especially in California.
Continue Reading California Thoughts and United Policyholders

The California wildfires have caused damage to many vineyards. We have been involved in a number of coverage and disputed value cases arising from these unfortunate incidents. Smoke can cause damage to a vineyard’s facilities and its crop and wine products. Finished wines can have a perceptible “smoke taint,” which makes wine unmarketable except for salvage value.
Continue Reading Vineyard Losses From Wildfires — A Smoky Wine Is Very Different Than Smoke Damaged Wine

For the third year in a row, California’s Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara issued a moratorium against homeowner insurer non-renewals for certain policies issues for residential properties located in zip codes or adjacent to zip codes that are enduring devastating wildfires.
Continue Reading California Protects Homeowners from Cancellations Due to Wildfires

Wildfires are ravaging California again. Climate change coupled with a prolonged heat wave and a rare summer lightening storm have lit up multiple parts of the State. The fires are hitting numerous populated areas. Homes and business are being destroyed. Unfortunately, this appears to be the new norm. Due to the increase in fire disasters, California has acted to amend the law to increase property insurance protection.
Continue Reading California Wildfires Strike Again – A Summary of Changes in the Law to Help Policyholders

Right now, more than 367 fires are burning in California. Many are 0% contained due to rugged terrain and high winds, and hundreds of structures have already been lost. Thousands more are threatened. Cal Fire is stretched thin and has called in resources from out of state. Many of the current fires resulted from thousands of lightning strikes from a coastal pressure storm. The lightning struck areas with extremely dry conditions. An historical heat wave is worsening the problem.
Continue Reading California Wildfires: What Can You Do Right Now to Protect Your Rights

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?