(San Diego’s East County)—A motion has been filed on behalf of 2007 wildfire victims whose properties were destroyed or damaged in the 2007 Witch Creek, Guejito and Rice Canyon Fires caused by San Diego Gas & Electric Company’s power lines.
The motion claims SDG&E did not provide proper notice to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) about a proposed “wildfire expense balancing account” – a rate hike that would force the public including fire victims to pay SDG&E’s uninsured liability costs for massive wildfires that it caused.
SAN BERNARDINO - Suspected Old Fire arsonist Rickie Lee Fowler apparently has offered to settle his capital case with prosecutors, as both sides continued to argue pretrial motions earlier this week.
San Bernardino Superior Court records indicate Fowler considered withdrawing his current plea of not guilty Monday afternoon during court proceedings before Judge Duke Rouse. The terms of Fowler's offer were not available.
In hearings last week in San Francisco before the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), SDG&E revealed that it wants to charge San Diego County ratepayers nearly half a billion dollars to recoup the utility’s uninsured costs for settling claims involving the 2007 Witch Creek, Guejito and Rice Canyon wildfires. The utility seeks to establish a Wildfire Expense Balancing Account (WEBA)—a plan that has outraged some local fire victims.
Now they're fighting back--and asking the public for help before February 1 to persuade the CPUC to hold a public participation hearing in San Diego.
“We want a public hearing in San Diego so the public knows what’s up in San Francisco and can tell the Comission, `no way’,” Diane Conklin, founder of the Mussey Grade Road Alliance (MGRA) told East County Magazine.
We cannot stop talking about the 2009 Station Fire. With reason: when an arsonist ignited it on August 26th, we could not know that it would continue to burn until mid-October; that it would kill two valiant firefighters, torch upwards of 100 structures, and consume 160,000 acres of the Angeles National Forest, blackening much of the San Gabriel Mountains; or that it would become the largest fire to date in Los Angeles County, and the most costly.
Its aftermath has been just as incendiary. Even as firefighters struggled to gain control of the blaze, even as its thick, dark smoke still churned skyward, criticism erupted. Why had it taken so long for the Forest Service to gain traction in the fight? What decisions had led to the grounding of the federal agency's air fleet in the crucial first night of the fire? Why, homeowners wondered, had they lost their homes--was it a result of command-and-control failures? And were communication glitches the reason why two LA County firefighters perished in a firestorm on Mt. Gleason?
BASTROP COUNTY, Texas -- Recent wildfires across Texas destroyed some 6,200 miles of fencing along ranches and farms. On Wednesday rebuilding vouchers will start going out for those families who rely on that land for their livelihood.
"It's something you can't really explain," said Texas rancher Justin Cormack. "I mean, this is home. I know a lot of people think, 'Oh, it's just land.' But, you know, this is my backyard, and we ran cattle out here since I was a baby.”
The California Public Utilities Commission Thursday established new rules to reduce fire hazards associated with overhead utility lines, with the aim of reducing outbreaks of wildfires like the ones that struck San Diego County in 2007.
"We have sadly seen in recent years the devastation brought on by wildfires in high fire-threat areas of California," said Timothy Alan Simon, a CPUC commissioner. "Today's decision will reduce fire hazard risk associated with overhead power lines and utility pole top communication facilities located in close proximity to power lines."
Attorneys for Pacific Gas and Electric Co. admitted in a court filing Friday that a defective weld on a gas transmission line caused the deadly San Bruno blast last year, but the mea culpa did not satisfy victims' attorneys who said the company had avoided taking full legal responsibility.
The admission was filed in a statement to San Mateo Superior Court Judge Steven Dylina. He had asked PG&E to declare whether it would accept liability to help expedite settlements in numerous lawsuits filed against the company over the explosion that killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes.
Unlike many other businesses, the insurance industry is bound by law to act in good faith with its customers. Because of their protective role in the lives of ordinary citizens, insurers have long operated as semi-public trusts. But since the mid-1990s, a new profit-hungry model, combined with weak regulation, has upended that ancient social contract.
"Claims has been converted into a money-making process," said Russ Roberts, a New Mexico-based management consultant and former business professor at Northwestern University who has studied the insurance industry's evolution from a service business to a profit-driven machine.
Allstate has announced that it plans on dropping holders of its homeowner policies if they refuse to bundle their automobile insurance policies with their home insurance policies. The insurance giant says that it made this potentially-groundbreaking decision in order to maintain its financial strength in these economically troubling times. By forcing its consumers to bundle their policies, the company believes that it will be better situated to meet the demands of all of its policyholders.
Claims are typically viewed as an expenditure, outflow, and a deficit. They are a point of contention that can often result in conflict with a loyal customer. In many respects, claims are where the battle for retention is won or lost. At their very best, claims are certainly not a celebrated moment in the customer relationship management lifecycle. If claims are at the root of customer dissatisfaction, and the only sustainable advantage a company has is providing superior customer service, then why aren’t more efforts and resources focused on truly changing this rudimentary problem?
Consider a new vantage point, one that instead sees claims as a paradox─a problem that can be part of the solution. While there are commonalities in processes across home, auto, and other claim types, the link to the customer at this critical point is the same. In this article we will focus on the imperative connection in personal property claims. Intimate processes as insurance claims go, but as with all claims, when executed effectively property claims can transform a business.
Insurance companies will pay more than $32 billion in claims to help people rebuild homes and businesses damaged or destroyed by natural disasters in 2011, a record year for federal disaster declarations, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).
“Catastrophes striking the United States in the first nine months of 2011 caused $32.6 billion in direct insured losses, nearly double the $18.6 billion in catastrophe-caused direct insured losses insurers generally incur over the first nine months of any given year,” said Dr. Robert Hartwig, CPCU, the president of the I.I.I. and an economist, citing figures released earlier this month by ISO’s Property Claim Services. “The $32.6 billion figure doesn’t even include the significant insured losses which arose after the pre-Halloween snowstorm, which caused enormous damage to multiple states along the Atlantic seaboard. Coupled with other events in 2011’s fourth quarter, direct insured losses could exceed $35 billion this year.”
RiskMeter.com, a provider of real-time natural hazard risk reports, has added a Texas wildfire report to its service. This report will return a property’s proximity to wildfire risk by simply entering an address or uploading a book of business.
Although wildfire risk is associated mostly with western states, more than 40 percent of all wildfires in 2011 occurred in Texas. The 2011 Texas wildfire season was the costliest season on record and was responsible for burning nearly 4 million acres and more than 5,700 structures.