Insurance claims from California wildfire could exceed $9 billion

California's insurance commissioner, on Wednesday, said insurance claims have risen to at least $9 billion following the recent wildfires which ravaged parts of the state, killing at least 89 people and tens of thousands of homes and businesses.

"The devastating wildfires of 2018 were the deadliest and costliest wildfire catastrophes in California's history," said California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones.

"The
tragic deaths ... and over $9 billion in insured losses to date are shocking numbers -- behind the insured loss numbers are thousands of people who've been traumatized by unfathomable loss."

The commissioner noted however that the figures announced was only preliminary.

Some $7 billion of the claims come from the Camp Fire in Northern California, which wiped out the town of Paradise and killed 86 people --the deadliest in the State's history-- while the Woolsey Fire in Southern California --which destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses and killed 3 people-- and the Hill fire,also in the south --destroying thousands of acres in the Santa Rosa Valley-- could top $2 billion.

AFP news agency reports that California Department of Insurance spokesperson, Nancy Kincaid believes the claims could exceed the record-breaking $10.4 billion paid following deadly wildfires that ripped through the state's wine country last year.

"These are the first numbers we've recorded so far ... and it's possible that very quickly last year's record will be broken," she told AFP.

On Tuesday, state and federal authorities had announced that at least $3 billion will be needed to clear debris from the inferno.



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