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Anticipating billions in wildfire claims, insurance companies sue PG&E

Three major insurance companies have filed lawsuits against Pacific Gas and Electric Co. over the billions of dollars in claims they anticipate facing following the deadliest wildfire in California history, The Sacramento Bee reported Jan. 3.

Allstate Corp., State Farm and USAA assert that they suffered damages as a result of the PG&E Corp. subsidiary's failure to properly maintain transmission lines and other infrastructure to prevent fires, according to the The Sacramento Bee.

The Camp Fire had claimed 86 lives as of Dec. 30 and destroyed 13,972 residences, 528 commercial buildings and 4,293 other buildings, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The utility, known as PG&E, has reported that an electrical event occurred on a high-voltage transmission tower near where the fire is believed to have originated.

Although the cause of the fire has not been found, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra told a federal court the utility could face criminal charges ranging from failure to clear vegetation to murder if the utility is found to have operated its equipment in a "reckless" manner that helped spark recent wildfires.

Survivors of the Camp Fire have also filed multiple lawsuits against PG&E.

The utility is on a five-year probation period related to its 2017 conviction on multiple counts related to the deadly 2010 gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno, Calif., and state regulators are considering whether the company should be restructured.