Pillsbury & Coleman, LLP
We Can Help You. 415-655-1549
Toll Free: 866-460-7279

New wildfires likely means new fire loss claim denials

Homeowners in wildfire country are often hit with a double tragedy. First their home is damaged or destroyed, and then in the aftermath the insurance company finds some reason to deny their property insurance claim.

Just as predictable as wildfire season, we tend to see a “fire loss denial season” months later when those property owners invoke their policies. Insurers who deny fire claims in bad faith can be held accountable for monetary damages.

A new round of deadly and damaging wildfires

After the devastating fires in Northern California in 2017, including the North Bay fires, a new spate of fires raged across the state this fall. The Camp Fire near Chico in Butte County is officially the most deadly in California history and the most destructive in terms of property damage. Meanwhile in Southern California, hundreds of thousands of people were evacuated in Ventura County, with many lives lost and several neighborhoods entirely consumed. Smaller blazes have cropped up in Solana County (not far from last year’s Atlas fire), as well as in Mendecino County and the mountain regions.

Cal Fire investigators recently concluded that several 2017 wildfires resulted from practices of Pacific Gas & Electric – sagging powerlines that sparked fires or re-energizing downed power lines. Which is to say those particular fires cannot be blamed on arsonists, negligent property owners or any of the insurance industry’s usual scapegoats.

Fire loss claims are routinely underpaid, delayed or denied

Businesses and homeowners in high-risk areas purchase fire loss insurance in the event that a raging wildfire engulfs their property. But when tragedy does strike, they often get the run-around from the insurance company – if not a flat denial. Many insurers resist fire loss claims, especially in a heavy year with hundreds or thousands of claimants.  

If the insurer unreasonably denies or intentionally undervalues the claim, it may constitute insurance bad faith. Policyholders can sue not only for the value of the policy but for additional damages if the insurance company’s claim denials are determined to be arbitrary, capricious or systematic.

In the event that you need to file a fire loss claim – or if your fire insurance claim has already been denied – a law firm with experience in this arena may be able to help you recover damages.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Email Our Attorneys

We Can Help You

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

  • American Board of Trial Advocates
    American Board of Trial Advocates A prestigious national association of experienced trial lawyers and judges. Membership is by exclusive invitation only. All members shall have completed 10 civil jury trials to jury verdict or hung jury as lead counsel.
  • Best Lawyers
    Best Lawyers The oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession. A listing in Best Lawyers is widely regarded by both clients and legal professionals as a significant honor, conferred on a lawyer by his or her peers.
  • AV | PeerReviewRated | Martindale-Hubbell | For Ethical Standards and Legal Ability
    Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings An objective peer review rating indicator of a lawyer's high ethical standards and professional ability, generated from evaluations of lawyers by other members of the bar and the judiciary. Pillsbury & Coleman founding partner Philip L. Pillsbury Jr. is rated “AV Preeminent.”
  • Super Lawyers
    Super Lawyers A peer-review rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.
  • Best Lawyers | Best Law Firms | U.S.News & World Report | 2018
    Best Lawyers Best Law Firms U.S. News 2017
  • American Association for Justice | Formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA)
    American Association for Justice (AAJ) Founded in 1946, AAJ is the world’s largest trial bar and supports the work of attorneys to ensure that injured plaintiffs can obtain justice.
  • IACCEC
    American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Counsel Composed of preeminent insurance coverage counsel in the United States and Canada, representing the interests of both insurers and policyholders. The minimum membership requirement is the practice of insurance law for at least fifteen consecutive years.
  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers | abtl
    Association of Business Trial Lawyers Founded in 1972, ABTL is dedicated to connecting litigators and judges to address issues important to trial lawyers.
  • Consumer Attorneys of California
    Consumer Attorneys of California The only California-wide unified trial bar for plaintiffs lawyers who represent consumers harmed by powerful foes such as insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, automobile manufacturers and banks.
  • SFTLA | San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association
    San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association For over 60 years, this prestigious bar association has educated and trained trial lawyers and supported and passed critical legislation to protect and advance individuals’ rights.
  • United Policyholders | Empowering the Insured
    United Policyholders A non-profit group dedicated to providing trustworthy and useful information and an effective voice for insurance consumers in all 50 states.
  • America's Top 100 High Stakes Litigators | 2018 | Top 100
    ACCEC | American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Counsel | Fellow