California Wildfire Victims:
Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who has suffered a loss as a result of the terrible wildfires that ravaged California recently. We first think of the loss of life, and mourn with the victims who were unable to get out of harm’s way as the devastating fires consumed Northern California. Additionally, many have returned to their home or business with nothing but ashes.
We’re here to help:
We have offices in California and attorneys who only focus on first party property insurance claim litigation. We only work on behalf of the policyholders and never on behalf of the insurance companies. Additionally, we have partnered with Levin Simes, a Bay Area firm with a nationwide practice litigating against large corporations who negligently have caused widespread harm.
By forging a strategic alliance between Levin Simes and Merlin Law Group, we have assembled a unique team designed to successfully address the different challenges facing the community because of the fires. With Levin Simes providing the trial lawyer depth to effectively battle PG&E in the local Courts, and with Merlin Law Group positioned as the premier national firm fighting for policyholders to ensure that claims are not delayed, denied, or underpaid, we are confident that we are in the best position to represent your interests. We intend to hold PG&E accountable, ensure that insurers keep their commitments in a timely manner and that they step up and take responsibility if they have negligently under insured policyholders.
Continue reading for more information on the wildfire damage and safety tips should you experience one.
Wildfires are statistically the most widespread of all natural disasters. Furthermore, wildfires are an ever-growing threat, particularly to the mid-west region. It is important that homeowners are aware of the necessary steps when preventing a wildfire, as well as to be aware of the insurance impact when moving or building in these high-risk areas.
Businesses should always beware of the economic consequences of wildfires by insuring for income and extra expense and in many instances, contingent business income loss coverage should be purchased. Contingent business income coverage is many times the most overlooked coverage.
The most destructive wildfire in Colorado history was the Black Forest Fire of June 2013. Insurance losses totaled to an estimated $420.5 million as a result of approximately 4,175 homeowner and auto insurance claims filed. El Paso County reported a total of 488 structures damaged or destroyed in the fire.
It has been surmised that 90% of wildfires are initiated by humans. Additionally, wildfires can be due to an excess of dead organic matter (leaves, foliage and more) and intense heat. Wildfires are also possible in the instance of lightning in extremely dry and/or drought conditions. Lightning reportedly strikes the earth 100,000 times annually, with 10-20% of these strikes harboring the strength to trigger a wildfire. Approximately 1.2 million acres are burned every year by wildfire in the United States.
Wildfires are a serious threat; it is important that you are prepared in all aspects.
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Wildfire safety tips:
- Create approximately a 30-foot zone around your property free of as much flammable material as possible. If achievable, replace any flammable vegetation with fire resistant plants.
- Reducing the number of trees in heavily wooded areas cuts back on potential hazard.
- When it comes to very large trees, prune lower branches a few feet from the ground.
- Remove any branches that overhanging or are within close proximity to the roof or the chimney. Keep dead leaves and foliage clean from the roof, gutters, and yard.
- If possible, have a roof that meets a “Class B” fire classification or better, installed on your property. If you have a chimney or stovepipe, keep them covered with nonflammable screening.
- Install dual- or triple-paned windows in your property.
- Keep any woodpiles and/or liquid propane gas tanks at a minimum of 30 feet from all physical structures and clear away any flammable vegetation from said woodpiles and/or propane tanks.
- Designate an emergency meeting location outside the fire or hazard area. This is critical to determine who has safely evacuated from the affected area.
- Several different escape routes from your home and community. Practice these often so everyone in your family is familiar in case of emergency.
- Have an evacuation plan for pets and large animals such as horses and other livestock.