Fire Insurance

Too many homeowners and businesses in the North State have had our fire insurance canceled and our premiums skyrocket, with nowhere to turn except the costly California FAIR Plan. We have been brought to a breaking point, and we need relief.

We are caught in an untenable debate that ranges from wildfire mitigation to regulating the profit-driven insurance industry. Now more than ever, we need our elected officials to fight for us in Sacramento. 

The legislature’s most recent attempt to address the homeowners’ insurance crisis, AB2167/SB292, took the path of least resistance. It eased up rules about how insurers raise their rates, in exchange for a limited requirement that those same companies write more policies—but only in certain areas. This bill, which passed the Assembly but was tabled in the Senate for future consideration, is a band-aid approach that simply doesn’t go far enough. We need long-term solutions for our rural district. 

Consumer groups and our State Insurance Commissioner are calling this piece of legislation a “gift” to the insurance industry, and Pamela agrees. At the very least, it should include a broader geographic mandate to write and renew policies.

While we must avoid subsidizing risky behavior and development practices, there are measures the state legislature can take to address this crisis. We need to:

  • Incentivize communities to formally participate in fire mitigation efforts, and require insurance companies to recognize these efforts and lower the risk category of the community.
  • Require insurers to reward homeowners with discounts for home-hardening, defensible space and providing safe firefighter access.
  • Require the California Department of Insurance’s approval of the risk assessment tools and methods used by insurers to determine the risk level of a given home or area.
  • Consider a targeted premium subsidy or abatement for existing homeowners in the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) who are low-income and for whom the FAIR Plan is their only option.
  • Analyze further improvements that can be made to the poorly administered FAIR Plan over and above changes mandated in the past few years. With more and more consumers insured by the FAIR Plan, its administration standards and coverage levels should more closely resemble the publicly-traded insurance market.
  • Implement fees on new development in the Wildlands Urban Interface that are earmarked for fire mitigation and prevention in the area of the development.

First and foremost, we need to prevent catastrophic fires with aggressive wildlands management projects. This will save lives, save homes, and bring back insurers who have grown wary of unmanageable losses. In the meantime, and in the event that fires do occur, we need to protect the consumers who are victims of forces beyond our control.

How did Dahle vote? click here to find out