In a Notice dated August 26, 2020, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara of the California Department of Insurance (the “Department”) requested that all property and casualty insurance companies doing business in the state expedite claims handling for California wildfire survivors in order to help them begin the recovery and rebuilding process more quickly.
In the Notice, Commissioner Lara asked insurance companies to provide greater flexibility with some deadlines and documentation typically required to pay claims, including:
- Minimum 4-month advance payment of Loss of Use, Fair Rental Value or Additional Living Expenses;
- Minimum 60-day billing grace period to allow for lost or destroyed renewal notices;
- Advance payment of at least 25% of policy limits for personal property—without requiring the completion of an inventory;
- Accepting any inventory form that contains substantially the same information as a company-specific form;
- Accepting an inventory that includes groupings of personal property—such as clothing, shoes, books or food items—rather than a list of each individual item;
- Expediting payment of vehicle damage claims covered under comprehensive loss coverage; and
- Cooperating with consolidated debris removal efforts coordinated through city, county and state agencies unless the insurer can provide more rapid debris removal.
This Notice is issued in recognition of Governor Gavin Newsom’s declared state of emergency related to the wildfires on August 18.