Bentley & More LLP reaches an 8-Figure Settlement on behalf of California Wildfire Underinsurance Claims
Greg Bentley, Matthew Clark, and Farnaz Salessi of Bentley & More LLP reached a confidential 8-figure settlement on behalf of multiple homeowners who lost their homes in the October 2017 Northern California wildfires. Despite maintaining insurance with the same carrier for years, and despite the insurance company recommending and even selecting the policy limits, the devastating wildfires left the homeowners without adequate insurance to even begin rebuilding their lost homes.
This underinsurance problem—all too common in the property insurance industry—was instigated by insurers falsely promising to conduct detailed estimates of replacement cost value, falsely claiming they revised that estimate yearly to account for changes in construction costs, and by relying on software that knowingly underestimates the cost to rebuild insureds’ homes. Despite the vast majority of homeowners believing they are adequately insured, these factors have combined to leave upwards of 80% of homes throughout the United States underinsured in the event of a total, catastrophic loss. With natural disasters seeming to arrive ever more frequently, this underinsurance problem is sure to be magnified in the years to come.
Though the families can never get back the four years of struggle with their insurer, due to the efforts of Bentley & More LLP, this settlement will allow the families to regain some semblance of normalcy by rebuilding their homes and trying to move on with their lives.