AIR Worldwide Estimates Industry Insured Losses for California Wildfires Will be Between USD 2 Billion and USD 3 Billion
BOSTON, Oct. 26, 2017 - Catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide estimates that industry insured losses from the Tubbs, Pocket, Nuns, Atlas, Redwood, and Sulphur fires in California will be between USD 2 billion and USD 3 billion. AIR's loss estimates explicitly capture residential, mobile home, commercial, and automobile losses, as well as direct business interruption losses. AIR Worldwide is a Verisk (Nasdaq: VRSK) business.
Multiple wildfires exacerbated by hot, dry, and windy conditions spread across eight counties of California starting in early October. Twenty-two active wildfires were reported by CAL FIRE on October 12, consuming more than 170,000 acres and destroying more than 3,500 structures. Winds moderated by October 16, which enabled firefighters to make progress toward containing the 15 wildfires still active across California; more than 217,000 acres had burned, and approximately 5,700 structures had been destroyed.
As of Wednesday, October 25, nine wildfires were still burning in California, including the Vista Fire near Casitas Springs that erupted on Tuesday, October 24. The Church Fire that broke out in San Diego County on Saturday, October 21, was fully contained as of Tuesday, October 24. CAL FIRE expects many of the active fires will be fully contained by the end of the week. In total, more than 245,000 acres have burned, an estimated 8,700 structures have been destroyed. Thousands of acres have burned in Yuba, Sonoma, Napa, Lake, Mendocino, Butte, Nevada, and Solano counties, which were heavily impacted by the fires.
Multiple cities in Southern California have had record-breaking temperatures during the autumn heat wave. Los Angeles exceeded the previous record of 99°F set 108 years ago when thermometers soared to 104°F there on Tuesday, and Huntington Beach recorded 103°F despite its proximity to the ocean.
Fire conditions lessened on Thursday, October 26, as the high pressure system over the Great Basin began to weaken and a colder air mass spread across the northern Rockies and Plains following a cold front traveling southward.
Of the 100,000 people evacuated throughout this event, an estimated 500 remain displaced. A state of emergency was declared on October 9 for the counties of Napa, Sonoma, Yuba, Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Nevada, and Orange, and an emergency proclamation for Solano County was issued on October 10.
A cooling trend is forecast for the latter half of the week, along with the continued weakening of pressure across the Great Basin. Resulting offshore winds and critical fire weather are also anticipated to decrease accordingly.
Analysis from AIR shows that losses will be dominated by residential losses, with several neighborhoods-most notably, in Sonoma County-experiencing catastrophic loss. These estimates of insured losses are based on the assumption of nearly 100% take-up rates. The fact that damage from fire, including wildfire, is included in standard homeowners' policies in California informs that assumption. The range in AIR's loss estimates reflects uncertainty in the payment of additional living expenses resulting from mandatory evacuation of the city's population, loss of some individual structures outside of the most affected neighborhoods, as well as widespread but lower levels of loss due to smoke, loss of electricity, and damage from suppression efforts. Loss estimates were derived utilizing the AIR California wildfire model and are based on exposures as of December 31, 2016.
AIR's modeled insured loss estimates do not include losses to uninsured properties, losses to land, losses to infrastructure, losses to vineyard grapes and vines, and demand surge.
About AIR Worldwide
AIR Worldwide (AIR) provides risk modeling solutions that make individuals, businesses, and society more resilient to extreme events. In 1987, AIR Worldwide founded the catastrophe modeling industry and today models the risk from natural catastrophes, terrorism, pandemics, casualty catastrophes, and cyber attacks, globally. Insurance, reinsurance, financial, corporate, and government clients rely on AIR's advanced science, software, and consulting services for catastrophe risk management, insurance-linked securities, site-specific engineering analyses, and agricultural risk management. AIR Worldwide, a Verisk (Nasdaq:VRSK) business, is headquartered in Boston with additional offices in North America, Europe, and Asia. For more information, please visit www.air-worldwide.com