Fires

California wildfire losses pegged at $1 billion

Video: Aftermath of the Valley Fire in Anderson Springs

Residents of Anderson Springs, which was devastated by the Valley fire, cope with the massive losses of lives, homes, pets and precious belongings. Miraculously, some homes were spared: "Our house was there. I don't know how. I dropped to my knees
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Residents of Anderson Springs, which was devastated by the Valley fire, cope with the massive losses of lives, homes, pets and precious belongings. Miraculously, some homes were spared: "Our house was there. I don't know how. I dropped to my knees

Northern California’s twin wildfires last fall caused an estimated $1 billion in insurance losses, state regulators said Monday.

The estimate by the state Department of Insurance makes clear that the Butte and Valley fires in September were among the costliest in California history.

The department said the Valley Fire, which destroyed 1,958 homes and other buildings in Lake, Napa and Sonoma counties, caused $700 million in covered losses. The Butte Fire, which claimed 818 buildings in Amador and Calaveras counties, caused $300 million in insurance losses.

The estimates are in line with an earlier calculation by insurer Aon Benfield that the insured fire losses totaled $925 million. Aon said total losses, including those not covered by insurance, came to $1.95 billion.

State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said the state’s estimate includes losses for homes, commercial buildings, cars and other personal property. The $1 billion figure doesn’t cover damages to roads, utilities and other public infrastructure.

The Oakland Hills Fire of 1991 remains the most expensive blaze in the state’s history, with $2.67 billion in inflation-adjusted covered losses.

Dale Kasler: 916-321-1066, @dakasler

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