PARADISE – In an effort to assist property owners whose homes were destroyed in the Camp Fire in Butte County, California Department of Insurance detectives have been escorting homeowners and insurance company adjusters into restricted burn areas to view and assess their losses.
“It saddens us that so many lost so much and that many of these residents have not been able to return to their home sites,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “With the assistance of CDI detectives, homeowners and adjusters can assess the loss and start the process of issuing checks.”
Due to many hazards and blocked roadways, many Camp Fire survivors were unable to return to the restricted burn area. To assist, detectives have escorted fire survivors and insurance adjusters to 1,271 properties, more than 1,100 of which were destroyed. The team's efforts resulted in allowing more than a dozen insurers to begin processing 1,243 claims for property and auto coverage.
"I deployed our detectives to assist homeowners in gaining access to their properties so they could take the first step in the very difficult recovery process," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "The response to this disaster has been extraordinary. Communities, agencies and law enforcement have come together to help the survivors of the most destructive fire in California's history, and my department remains committed to assisting Butte County residents through this trying time."
Due to the magnitude of the Camp Fire, the Butte County Sheriff's Office asked for assistance in escorting adjusters into the area in order to help residents of Paradise begin receiving policy benefits/payments. The department frequently works with local law enforcement and other state and federal agencies during and after disasters to provide assistance, help survivors and offer expertise. The detective's expertise is also helpful in spotting potential scams or fraud.
Following disasters the department deploys the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to canvas neighborhoods looking for unlicensed contractors, adjusters and other scam artists that target vulnerable wildfire survivors. With few homes still standing in Paradise, detectives have attended town halls and community meetings in lieu of going door to door in order to reach homeowners and deliver warnings about scam artists and provide information to assist with their recovery. Detectives have also met with residents one on one to address concerns and get information to help them spot a potential scam.