Fire Victim Trust

On November 15, 2022, the Trustee posted responses to fire survivors' questions submitted during a recent meeting hosted by Sonoma County Supervisors Susan Gorin and James Gore.  Read the responses here.

On November 14, 2022, the Trust sent letters in support of H.R. 7305 to amend IRS Code of 1986 for certain fire survivors' claimants. Read the letters here

On October 28, 2022, the Trust announced the Sale of the Next Group of 35 Million Shares of PG&E Stock.  Read the press release here.

On October 5, 2022, the Trust announced the Sale of 35 Million Shares of PG&E Stock.  Read the press release here.

Welcome to The Official Fire Victim Trust Website


Under the direction of Cathy Yanni (Trustee) and David Agretelis (Claims Administrator), the Fire Victim Trust is ever-focused on resolving Fire Victims’ claims to help them recover and move on successfully with their lives.

The Trust reviews claims and issues Determination Notices daily and disburses payments twice monthly, compensating Fire Victims for economic and non-economic damages caused by the 2015 Butte, 2017 North Bay, and 2018 Camp Fires, including destruction or damage to real estate and personal property, additional living expenses, lost wages, business losses, emotional distress, personal injury or death and related medical expenses.

In addition to the program statistics below, you can access Trust information using the Information and FAQs menu tabs above.  Prior Trustee updates are included on the Documents page here.  Claimants (or their lawyers, if represented) can access their confidential claims information, notices, and other program materials by logging into their secure Portal account here.


A Message from the Trustee of the Fire Victim Trust


November 1, 2022
  There are several questions I am frequently asked about the work of the Fire Victim Trust (FVT) and its progress in paying fire victims for losses suffered from the 2015-2018 Northern California fires. The most common question relates to our holding of PG&E stock and when we’re going to sell more shares to put more funding into the Trust. In this month’s post, I am going to try to explain how we think about PG&E stock in the Fire Victim Trust and how it impacts claimants.
  When the Bankruptcy Court authorized creation of the FVT, it approved its funding half in cash and half in equity (PG&E stock). Especially in light of the turbulent stock market, we are challenged to determine the precise time at which to sell the PG&E stock to secure the highest possible value for Fire Victims. Since July 2020 when the Trust was founded, there have been several such opportunities and in October, for example, market conditions were right to sell 70 million shares, adding nearly $1 billion cash into the fund. We also received good news recently that the S&P 500 added PG&E stock to its index. Our financial advisers believe that will have a positive effect on the share price as it will force passive index fund managers to purchase the company’s stock.

But selling stock is a complicated exercise when your position is as large as the Trust’s and your priority is to maximize returns. Unloading all of the stock in a single sale, as some have suggested, so that Fire Victims can get paid and be done with their claims, would not be in anyone’s best interest. It would significantly drive down the price of PG&E stock, likely before the sale even occurs. Therefore, it’s not just a question of timing sales but also calibrating how much you can sell at one time without flooding the market and depressing the value of the stock. The FVT is working with its financial advisors to monetize its shares in a responsible manner, taking into account price, market share and the needs of the victims. There will be stock sales in the future, but we cannot predict the timing of those sales other than to say we diligently monitor the market and are ready to act when the circumstances are right.
I also want to address a related question on payments and why people have only been partially compensated on their claims. The Trust is a limited fund, meaning it has finite money. And the bankruptcy laws, court order, and the Trust Documents require that we administer claims and pay eligible Fire Victims each an equal proportion of their awards. This is what we mean when we use the term pro rata. No matter whether your claim is the first claim to receive a notice or the last one, you will receive the same pro rata percentage as everyone else. With the Trust’s cash assets, we know we can safely pay all claimants at least 45% of their awards even before selling additional stock. As we move forward and are able to sell more stock, the Trust will increase the pro rata payment percentage, resulting in higher payments to all Fire Victims.
Please know we continue to make good progress in issuing determinations and making payment on claims overall. As of November 1, 86% of the total claims have been determined; over 50,000 claimants have received payments; and the total amount of payments issued is now at $5.36 billion.
I look forward to connecting again in December.

Sincerely,

Alternate Text

Cathy Yanni


Program Statistics

(As of 11/15/22)

Claimants with Submitted Claims Questionnaires (CQs)
67,203
Submitted CQs
36,223
Claims Asserted
238,788
Claimants with Determination Notices
58,972 (88%)
CQs with Determination Notices Issued
31,977 (88%)
CQs with Accepted Determination Notices
26,585 (73%)
Paid Claimants
50,631 (75%)
Amount Paid
$5.51 billion
Amount Awarded
$13.80 billion
Payments by Month (Last Six Months)
Submitted Claims Questionnaires - 36,223
Total Payments Issued

Timeline


9/9/2015

Butte Fire

10/9/2017

North Bay Wildfires (includes 22 major fires)

11/8/2018

Camp Fire

1/29/2019

PG&E filed for bankruptcy protection

6/10/2019

Cathy Yanni appointed Administrator of Wildfire Assistance Program

12/1/2019

PG&E and Tort Claimants Committee reached $13.5 billion settlement

4/14/2020

Hon. John K. Trotter (ret.) and Cathy Yanni appointed Trustee and Claims Administrator of the Fire Victim Trust (FVT)

6/20/2020

Bankruptcy Court confirmed PG&E’s Chapter 11 Plan of Reorganization

7/1/2020

FVT established and funded with $5.4 billion cash and PG&E stock

7/1/2020

FVT began accepting claims information on FVT Portal

8/17/2020

Claims Questionnaire available

11/23/2020

FVT began issuing Preliminary Payments to Fire Victims

12/31/2020

Original Claims Questionnaire filing deadline (later extended to 2/26/21)

1/15/2021

$758 million cash payment received from PG&E

2/26/2021

Claims Questionnaire filing deadline (extended from 12/31/20)

3/15/2021

FVT began issuing Pro Rata Payments to Fire Victims

6/25/2021

$1B Awarded in Determination Notices

8/13/2021

$2B Awarded in Determination Notices

9/22/2021

$3B Awarded in Determination Notices

10/29/2021

$4B Awarded in Determination Notices

12/9/2021

$5B Awarded in Determination Notices

1/17/2022

$592 million cash payment received from PG&E

1/28/2022

$6B Awarded in Determination Notices

3/3/2022

$7B Awarded in Determination Notices

4/11/2022

$8B Awarded in Determination Notices

5/16/2022

$9B Awarded in Determination Notices

6/23/2022

$10B Awarded in Determination Notices

7/1/2022

Cathy Yanni becomes Trustee of the Fire Victim Trust

7/29/2022

$11B Awarded in Determination Notices

9/7/2022

$12B Awarded in Determination Notices

9/30/2022

$5B Paid to Fire Victims

10/13/2022

$13B Awarded in Determination Notices

© 2022 BrownGreer PLC. All rights reserved.