While insurers are aware of the mounting claims and damages from California’s destructive Carr Fire and Mendocino Complex Fire, many are unaware that on November 13, 2018, a group of law firms known as the “Northern California Fire Lawyers” filed a class-action lawsuit against Pacific Gas & Electric, a Northern California utility company that provides natural gas and electric services to approximately ten million people throughout a 70,000 square mile service area. Insurers should understand that any damages caused by the Northern California fires may not have been caused by an “act of God.” Instead, insurers should identify these claims as having potential subrogation.
In the world of claims handling and insurance subrogation, knowledge is power. We often see the aftermath of clients waiving significant subrogation interests or paying on claims that, had the law or issues been recognized and understood, would have turned out differently. Information is the most valuable commodity our industry possesses, and its free for the taking. All that is required is a minor investment of time and a willingness to learn.
A.O. Smith Corporation, a manufacturer of water heaters located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, recently announced a recall of over 616,000 water heaters that are being blamed for causing numerous house fires due to the gas burner (flame arrestor) screen on several models developing a tear, resulting in excessive radiant heat which can cause a fire hazard if it is installed on a wood or other combustible floor.
Matthiesen, Wickert & Lehrer, S.C. (“MWL”) is pleased to announce that Katherine Sandoval has joined our insurance litigation team as an associate attorney in our Orange, California office. Katherine’s litigation experience adds to a wealth of experience at MWL’s very busy California office, which is already teeming with talent and expertise.