State Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Long Beach) has introduced new legislation aimed at protecting homeowners from getting kicked off their insurance policies in the wake of California's devastating 2017 wildfire season.
“This is unprecedented for California, and wildfire continues to smolder in Southern California,” Lara said, referencing the now 92 percent contained Thomas Fire. “But Californians already face a new threat, and that threat is of losing their insurance because of wildfire risk."
The proposed bill, titled The Wildfire Safety and Recovery Act, would prevent insurance companies from dropping customers after a wildfire, require insurers to offer discounts to customers who take steps to protect their homes from fire, and require approval from the California Department of Insurance if insurers want to significantly reduce the number of policies they hold in a geographic area.
Janet Ruiz of the Insurance Information Institute said the insurance industry wants to work with the Legislature to make sure any new laws actually benefit consumers.
"I don't think that's really the right way to go about it," she said of the main provisions in Lara's bill. "I think it's more important for insurers to be able to spread their risk and be sure that they can pay claims."