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California wildfires cause $1 billion in estimated insured losses


Two major wildfires that struck parts of California last fall caused an estimated $1 billion in insured losses, according to the California Department of Insurance.

The Valley and Butte fires affected nearly 150,000 acres in Northern California last fall, the department said Monday in a statement. The insurance department said the Valley Fire damaged 1,958 structures in Lake, Napa and Sonoma counties, resulting in approximately $700 million in insured losses and making it the third-most damaging wildfire in state history in terms of total structures burned.

Using the same measurement, the Butte Fire is the seventh-most destructive fire to hit California, damaging 818 structures in Amador and Calaveras counties and causing an estimated $300 million in insured losses.

The department said that so far, insurers report that they have received 5,600 claims, paid out more than $500 million and expect to pay another $500 million in anticipated future losses.

The department added, however, that the $1 billion claim total does not include all surplus insurance lines claims or damages to public infrastructure such as roads and utilities.