Wildfires Impact Businesses, Too

With this season’s outbreak of wildfires wreaking historic havoc on both lives and livelihoods, the impact is being felt not only in California but across the Pacific Northwest. This year’s pandemic signifies what we at Guardian Group, Inc. have dubbed a Co-CAT event, wherein the need for expedited investigations persists but extra health safety precautions are required for the insured’s peace of mind. But in this month’s case study, we take a look back to the devastation of last year’s wildfire season, even pre-Covid, to the Northern California “Camp Fire,” and the commercial impacts therein.


At the request of our TPA-client, Guardian’s forensic construction and engineering expert deployed to the Butte County scene of an impacted business that comprised 3 buildings on a single lot. When catastrophe strikes, it’s only natural to think of repairing and replacing homes; practically, though, communities must also have their sustaining businesses in order to truly rebuild.


A thorough walk-though was conducted and photographs were taken to document the damages. Two buildings of the property’s three, being wood-framed, single-story outbuildings, had suffered complete destruction, with no remaining framing, structure or contents. But the one large building, made of steel, had suffered only some fire and smoke damage, as is common in these wildfires, while still remaining serviceable.


In addition to outlining and providing evidentiary forensic support for Guardian’s expert’s determinations, the report included a preliminary cost-to-repair estimate. This was requested by the TPA on the carrier and their insured’s behalf. The estimate was developed utilizing a “zero-based estimate” methodology based upon local rates and excluding some already-performed debris removal work. The significant items in the estimate were for the reconstruction of the two out-buildings, (mostly) smoke damage repair to the steel building, demolition, and completion of the debris removal. The total costs were preliminarily estimated at a little over $400k, all itemized in an easy-to-follow spreadsheet.


 When uncommon disaster strikes, be it fire, hurricane, earthquake or other, insurance carriers and TPAs know that’s the time to serve insureds with uncommon dedication. That’s why Guardian Group’s Property & Casualty Group responds to your requests for forensic construction and engineering support with a 30-plus year commitment to rapid dispatch and reporting. Call on the Property Claim experts at Guardian Group, Inc. today.

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