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Insured losses from California wildfires surpass $1 billion mark

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Preliminary insured losses from the California wildfires have exceeded $1 billion and are expected to climb, California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said Thursday.

Data provided by eight California insurers processing claims for tens of thousands of policyholders showed $1.045 billion in losses of commercial and residential structures, personal and commercial vehicles, and agricultural equipment, Mr. Jones said in a statement.

"These numbers are just the beginning of the story (of) one of the deadliest and costliest wildfire catastrophes in California's history," Mr. Jones said in the statement. "The tragic death of 42 people and over a billion in property losses are numbers – behind these numbers are thousands of people who've been traumatized by unfathomable loss. We must do all we can to ease their pain and help them recover and rebuild."

Mr. Jones signed an emergency declaration on Oct. 13 allowing insurers to tap out-of-state claims adjusters from their other offices and effectively expanding their claims adjuster workforce, the statement said. He had previously asked insurers to expedite claims by cutting through red tape and helping policyholders who likely have little or no documentation that insurers normally require.