Oct 11, 2017
Winegrape industry rallies in face of devastating wildfires

The California winegrape industry is assessing damages from wildfires in key growing areas of the state. Crop insurance tips and disaster relief measures also are addressed in a statement by the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG). 

“CAWG is saddened by the loss of lives, structures and property due to wildfires in Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties, the organization stated.

“We share our deepest sympathies with the thousands of people who have been and will be affected by this tragedy. We are grateful to the firefighters, first responders and community members who are helping to protect lives and property.”

“In the coming days, we will have a clearer picture of the extent of damage that has occurred to vineyards and wineries and the response needed to aid recovery,” CAWG President John Aguirre said. “Until then, our thoughts and prayers go to all of those impacted by this unfolding disaster and to the men and women who are bravely battling these fires.”

CAWG will work with members of the California congressional delegation, key federal officials and other wine industry organizations to ensure adequate resources are provided for disaster response and recovery efforts.

Below you will find resources for crop and property insurance claims, as well as simple ways you can lend a helping hand to those affected by the fires.

Crop Insurance Claims

If you have a Federal Crop Insurance Policy in place, there may be multiple reasons for calling in a notice of potential loss to your agent:

Direct Damage: If you have encountered direct damage to your vineyard, resulting in lost crop due to fire, you should immediately contact your crop insurance agent to report the loss. Direct damage, such as fire, to a crop is a covered cause of loss.

Smoke Taint: The smoke in the air can cause smoke taint rendering the affected crop a total loss, partial loss or possible quality loss. If you suspect that smoke taint may become a reality in your vineyard, again, you should notify your crop insurance agent immediately to report the potential damage. Smoke taint can be a covered cause of loss, however there are certain conditions that must be met in order for a claim to be viable. Click here to learn more about what to do in the case of potential damage from smoke taint.

Inability to Harvest: If you are precluded from being able to harvest your crop, due to wildfire inhibiting your access to your vineyard; you could have a potential cause of loss. While rare, this could very well be the case for some who may not be able to reach their vineyard for some period of time. If you are unable to access your vineyard, it is best that you reach out to your crop insurance agent to notify them of the situation.

Keep in mind, crop insurance only covers the crop, not the vines. Even if you have the slightest possibility of damage, you should contact your agent immediately. Also, remember that a payable claim is ultimately dependent on your insurable acreage, average yields, coverage levels, prices per ton and guarantees of the policy.

How to file a Federal Crop Insurance Claim – Do’s and Don’ts

To find out more, or if we can help direct you to a preferred insurance provider,
please contact the CAWG office at 916-379-8995.

Property Loss Claims

After a loss has occurred, you will be facing many problems you probably have not confronted before. It may be helpful to keep the following in mind:

Contact Your Insurance Agent Or Insurance Company As Soon As Possible- Your insurance agent will gather the information necessary to file a claim with your insurance company on your behalf. If you do not have an insurance agent, contact your insurance company.

Protect Property From Further Damage: When it is possible and safe to do so- prevent further damage to your property by covering broken windows, damaged roofs and walls. Save receipts for supplies and materials you purchase. Your insurance company will reimburse you for reasonable expenses in making temporary repairs. If your business or home has sustained extensive damage, please do not go back inside until cleared to do so by emergency personnel.

Take Photos of the Damaged Property and Prepare an Inventory of Property Damaged

Business Income Coverage- If you have Business Income coverage, it may provide protection against certain financial losses that are sustained if your business is unable to operate due to a covered loss.

Loss of Use Coverage: Your Farm or Homeowner’s policy includes a limit for Loss of Use. This coverage is intended to assist with temporary housing and additional living expenses if you are unable to occupy your home after a covered loss. Make certain to retain all receipts for these expenses for remittance to your claims adjuster.

For more information, CA Department of Insurance – Property Claims Guide
& Tips to Consider After a Disaster

How to help evacuees of fires

If you are searching for ways to assist those affected by the fires, here are some options to lend a helping hand:
Airbnb has launched its Open Homes program for those seeking shelter free-of-charge at a residence outside of but near the affected area. The company is also looking for those willing to volunteer space at their local home for evacuees.

Petaluma officials have posted on social media asking people to donate supplies, including baby food, pet food, water, blankets, and toilet paper, to evacuation centers (NBC Bay Area has a full list of drop-off locations).

The Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund is collecting cash donations here.

Donate to food pantries: Food pantries of Napa County, Food pantries of Yuba County, and Food pantries of Sonoma County.

Many shelters are in need of bedding. See a list of shelters here.

Donate to local animal shelters, which are helping people keep their pets safe. Humane Society of Sonoma County: sonomahumane.org, Humane Society of Napa County: napahumane.org, and Yuba-Sutter SPCA: yubasutterspca.org.

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