Pacific Gas and Electric Company are reviewing a claim that a rare, 500-pound emerald perished in the 2018 ‘Camp Fire’. In fact, the emerald in question is so rare, it might not even exist. The idea may have even come from a shoddy list of insurance claim tips for fire damage.
A Faulty Wire
On November 8, a faulty PG&E power line started a fire on Camp Creek Road, in California’s Butte County. The fire spread to urban areas and caused a firestorm in the town of Paradise, California..
The couple who filed the claim state that their “Beleza Emerald” was valued at $280 million. Court documents describe the gem as a “solid block of black schist and quartz with green crystals.” According to the Sacramento Bee, the same couple also filed four duplicate claims amounting to $18 million.
An Unbelievably Rare Emerald
To put it in perspective, the $280-million gemstone comprises most of the $350 million in several claimed labeled as ‘suspicious’. The immense estimated cost of the emerald alone raises alarms, as it would be one of the most expensive in the world. For comparison, a Forbes article states that an 800 lb. emerald discovered in Brazil is worth approximately $309 million. Christie’s auction house lists its most expensive emeralds with a maximum price of about $6 million.
Similarly, the claim that such a massive emerald melted in the fire also raised doubt. Gemstones such as emeralds have a melting point at around 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. And while the fire reached a high enough temperature to melt aluminum (1,221 F approximately), it still had to burn hotter to degrade the emerald.
The house that supposedly guarded the jewel is worth an estimated $586,000 according to a calculation by Realtor.com. If the couple really coveted such a valuable emerald, surely they would have read up on some simple insurance claim tips for fire damage.
Researching Insurance Claim Tips
Morgan Clark, a UK based insurance firm cites some legitimate insurance claim tips for fire damage: File your fire insurance claim as soon as you can; don’t throw anything away; ask for what you need; know your rights; and keep as much evidence as you can.
As an example, PG&E are requesting specific evidence of both the emerald’s existence and destruction. Other documents needed to legitimize the claim include proof that it was in their home during the time of the fire, and other paperwork describing its market value and proof of insurance.
The fire was the deadliest in California’s history, killing 85 and damaging many homes and property. PG&E anticipated billions in liability claims and filed for bankruptcy soon after the fire. The survivors of the disaster undoubtedly benefited from researching insurance claim tips for fire damage. Ultimately, the power company offered victims $13.5 billion for damages.