Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed into law three significant bills – all supported by the Association of California Insurance Companies (ACIC) – that respond to last year’s Southern California wildfires.
“The governor and Legislature are to be commended for taking decisive action that will help fire victims in the future through mediation, greater policy information and extended periods for reconstruction,” said ACIC President Sam Sorich.
Sorich noted the bills are SB 1855 by Sen. Deirdre Alpert, D-San Diego; SB 64 by Sen. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough; and AB 2199 by Assemblywoman Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego.
SB 1855 updates the disclosures that homeowner insurers must provide to their policyholders. The new disclosures help assure that policyholders have accurate and thorough explanations of the coverages in their homeowners insurance policies. SB 1855 will become effective Jan. 1, 2005
SB 64 expands the Department of Insurance’s mediation program to include disputes arising from claims under policies covering residential property insurance losses (other than earthquake losses) occurring since Sept. 20, 2003, when the losses result from a state of emergency declared by the governor. SB 64 became effective upon the governor’s signature on Aug. 30.
AB 2199 makes certain that homeowners who purchase full replacement cost policies will have enough time to rebuild their homes. The bill provides that a full replacement cost policy may not include a time limit on payments that is less than 12 months. Also, insurers must grant additional six-month extensions for good cause. SB 2199 sets a minimum 24-month time limit if the damage to the property was a result of a state of emergency. AB 2199 became effective upon the governor’s signature on Aug. 25.
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