Insurance Commissioner Poizner Secures Close to $46 Million in Additional Coverage for AIG Customers Who Suffered Losses in Sylmar Wildfire

Insurance Commissioner Poizner Secures Close to $46 Million in
Additional Coverage for AIG Customers Who Suffered Losses in Sylmar
Wildfire Survivors to receive an average $100,000 to $125,000 in
Additional Coverage
Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner today announced that the California
Department of Insurance CDI) has secured between $37 million and $46
million in additional coverage from AIG for Sayre Fire survivors in
Sylmar. Commissioner Poizner was joined by Los Angeles City
Councilmember Richard Alarcón; Amy Bach, executive director of United
Policyholders and a Sayre wildfire survivor and AIG policyholder who,
until this agreement was reached, was unable to afford to rebuild her
“Losing your home and all your belongings in a wildfire is absolutely
devastating,” said Commissioner Poizner. “After years of making payments
on their policies, homeowners count on their insurance companies to
come through when they need them most – when they lose everything. I am
pleased that through our decisive action and firm negotiations, the
Department of Insurance and AIG were able to enter into an agreement
that will secure up to $46 million in additional coverage for wildfire
The Sayre Fire tore through Sylmar in November, completely destroying
485 mobile homes. AIG insured 370 of those mobile homes. It is CDI’s
position that all 370 AIG policies included a stipulation that provides
either 110 percent or 125 percent for additional coverage in the event
of a total loss. After the Sayre Fire destroyed the homes of 370 AIG
policyholders, the company advised the policyholders that the 110
percent enumerated in their policies actually meant 10 percent
additional coverage, and 125 percent actually meant 25 percent
additional coverage for policyholders. As many wildfire victims
attempted to rebuild their lives, they found that the policy limits
being offered by AIG were insufficient to replace their mobile homes.
Upon receiving complaints from fire survivors, CDI took immediate
action. CDI took the position that coverage should be afforded for 110
percent or 125 percent of additional coverage and urged AIG to offer the
higher policy limits to all wildfire victims. While CDI and AIG had
different positions on how the policy should be interpreted, after weeks
of negotiations, New Hampshire Insurance Company an AIG company)
agreed to offer its insureds the additional 110 percent or 125 percent
of coverage being sought by the CDI. In reaching this agreement, the
best interests of the policyholders are being served. The agreement
Commissioner Poizner announced today will result in up to $46 million in
additional coverage for fire survivors, an average of about $100,000 to
$125,000 in additional coverage per policy.
“We commend the Commissioner and his team for negotiating this important
agreement on behalf of the hundreds of AIG policyholders who lost their
Sylmar homes and need every promised dollar of insurance coverage to
rebuild,” said Amy Bach, a consumer rights advocate and executive
director of United Policyholders.
Los Angeles City Councilmember Richard Alarcón said, “I want to thank
the local disaster recovery advocates who brought this to the attention
of my office so we could work with the Insurance Commissioner to ensure
that the Oakridge residents received what they were entitled to and I
thank the Insurance Commissioner for following through.”
In January, Commissioner Poizner hosted an Insurance Recovery Forum for Sayre Fire survivors,
where he was joined by local, state and federal officials, as well as
representatives from the insurance industry, to answer specific
insurance questions for fire victims. CDI has received 46 complaints
involving a number of insurance companies from Sayre Fire survivors.
These complaints mostly involve claims delays. Some involve claims
denials and five involve an underinsurance allegation. The Department is
currently investigating and mediating all these complaints to ensure
that the Sayre Fire survivors obtain prompt and fair settlements.
Please visit the Department of Insurance Web site at . Non media inquiries should be directed to the
Consumer Hotline at 800.927.HELP.
Callers from out of state, please dial 213.897.8921. Telecommunications
Devices for the Deaf TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.

The information presented in this publication is for general informational purposes and is not a substitute for legal advice. If you have a specific legal issue or problem, United Policyholders recommends that you consult with an attorney. Guidance on hiring professional help can be found in the “Find Help” section of United Policyholders does not sell insurance or certify, endorse or warrant any of the insurance products, vendors, or professionals identified on our website.

Date: June 20, 2024