The state's Department of Insurance has released a reportshowing that formal complaints against insurers rose by 22 timesfollowing the southern California wildfires of last year.

“This disturbing report, at the very least, demonstrates asystemic problem of underinsurance that is happening throughout theindustry,” said Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi. “At worst,it indicates that insurers, in many cases, have not held up theirend of the bargain with fire survivors who are looking to rebuildtheir lives.”

The department's study of complaints found that, of the 2,734total-loss claims filed with insurers following the fires, 22percent generated complaints over the handling of the claim by theinsurer. Of the 676 complaints filed, 316 involved underinsurance.Typically, the DOI receives complaints from about 1 percent of allclaims in most lines of insurance.

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