California Bill Aimed at Property Insurance in Communities Investing in Wildfire Prevention

February 28, 2020

Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-Marin County, has introduced Assembly Bill 3258, which would require property insurance providers to take into consideration local government investments in wildfire prevention when determining insurance rates.

California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara and a group of Legislators earlier this month introduced Assembly Bill 2367, which is being called Renew California. That bill would require admitted insurance companies to write or renew policies for existing homes in communities that meet a new statewide standard for fire-hardening. The bill also would authorize the insurance commissioner to require insurance companies to offer financial incentives for homeowners to do the work to make their homes more fire-safe.

Devastating wildfires throughout California over the past several years have forced local governments to rethink their role in reducing future wildfire risk. Marin and Sonoma County voters are being asked on the March 3 ballot to make a specific investment to prevent wildfires in their communities.

The proposed Measure C in Marin County would levy a parcel tax on commercial and residential parcels to raise approximately $19.3 million per year solely for wildfire prevention programs. The proposed Measure G in Sonoma County is a half-cent countywide sales tax which, if passed, would generate about $51 million a year for county fire agencies to increase preparedness and better combat the ongoing threat of devastating wildfire.

Under Levine’s AB 3258, property owners in areas that have adopted dedicated local fire prevention programs would be able to renew a property insurance policy in a historically high-risk area or potential modifications to property insurance premiums.

AB 3258 will be considered by the State Assembly this spring.

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