California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara on Monday announced a new partnership between the California Department of Insurance and Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Administration to establish statewide standards for home and community hardening aimed at reducing wildfire risk, protecting lives and property and making insurance available and affordable to residents and businesses.
The partnership includes the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research and the California Public Utilities Commission.
While California has existing wildfire building standards for new development as established by Calfire, the new partnership consisting of state wildfire, catastrophe, and insurance experts will establish consistent standards based in fire science, and apply to retrofits for older existing homes to help them seek and maintain insurance coverage, “thus giving policyholders and insurance companies a shared strategy for reducing wildfire risks,” according to a CDI announcement on Monday.
“With home and community hardening standards in place, Californians can hope to save lives and property through safer homes and increase insurance availability at the same time,” Lara said in a statement. “Our insurance market is responding to higher wildfire risk, so safeguarding homes will assist consumers in finding and keeping their insurance. I look forward to working with Gov. Newsom and his administration on this critical mitigation effort to protect homes and communities from wildfire loss.”
The American Property Casualty Insurance Association has been reached out to for comment. The APCIA is the primary national trade association for home, auto and business insurers.
The partnership is the latest step to enact regulatory and administrative actions that Lara announced on Sept. 16, 2020, using his existing regulatory authority under voter-approved Proposition 103 to protect the state’s insurance market.
Lara in November 2020 announce a mandatory one-year moratorium on insurance companies non-renewing or cancelling residential property insurance policies, a move he says is aimed at helping 2.1 million policyholders affected to date by the record 2020 wildfire season. In October of last year, he pledged to step up efforts to protect the state’s residents from wildfires and address a pullback of private insurers from the state’s riskiest areas.
Last year, Newsom signed legislation to increase consumer protections for wildfire survivors, including Senate Bill 872 authored by Senator Bill Dodd and sponsored by Commissioner Lara, among other measures. In his signing message for SB 872 and Assembly Bill 3012, Governor on Monday announced a new partnership between the California Department of Insurance and Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Administration to establish statewide standards for home and community hardening aimed at reducing wildfire risk, protecting lives and property and making insurance available and affordable to residents and businesses.
The partnering agencies and departments are expected to begin meeting this month.
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- California Releases Final ZIPs for Non-Renewal Protection for 2020 Wildfires
- Many Californians Being Left Without Homeowners Insurance Due to Wildfire Risk
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