Commissioner’s Mandatory One-Year Moratorium Prevents Home Insurance Cancellations and Non-Renewals in Siskiyou, Modoc and Madera Counties
September 26, 2022 – SACRAMENTO, Calif. – As California continues to battle statewide wildfires, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara today ordered insurance companies to preserve residential coverage following Governor Gavin Newsom’s latest report emergency declarations. Commissioner Newsletter protects policyholders within the wildfire perimeter or in adjacent ZIP codes from the Mountain, Barnes and Fork fires in Siskiyou, Modoc and Madera counties against non-renewal or cancellation of insurance for one year at from the date of the governor’s Sept. 19 statement, regardless of whether they suffered a loss.
“This law gives wildfire survivors much-needed breathing room so they don’t have to buy insurance immediately as they recover, while also stabilizing the insurance market,” said Commissioner Lara. “As wildfires continue to threaten our state, this year of protection will give these hard-hit communities time and added incentive to protect their homes from future wildfires. My ministry and I will be there from day one of recovery until the job is done and communities are safer.
Today’s moratorium order includes 30 ZIP codes in Siskiyou, Modoc and Madera counties, affecting approximately 31,000 wildfire survivors.
Consumers can go to Insurance Department website to see if their postal code is included in the moratorium. Consumers should contact the Department of Insurance at 800-927-4357 or by chat or email at assurance.ca.gov if they believe their insurance company is in violation of this law or if they have additional questions regarding claims.
Commissioner Lara’s ability to issue moratoriums is the result of a California law he drafted in 2018 when he was a state senator to provide temporary relief from insurance non-renewals and cancellations to residents living in or near a wildfire declared by the governor. disaster. Since 2019, Commissioner Lara’s actions have protected nearly 4 million homeowners, including more than 363,000 so far in 2022.
The commissioner’s action is part of a broader solution he is seeking for consumers and wildfire survivors, which includes efforts to increase insurance protections and market competition to help protect consumers. Commissioner Lara’s actions since taking office in 2019 include:
- Announced “Safer from Wildfires”, a new insurance framework that incorporates wildfire safety measures to help save lives while making homes and businesses more resilient. Safer from Wildfires was created by an early-ever partnership between the Department of Insurance and Governor Newsom’s Administration emergency and preparedness agencies, including the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) , the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES), the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, and the California Public Utilities Commission.
- Proposal for a new regulation to integrate Safer from Wildfires into insurance pricing, reducing costs for consumers who have taken action to protect their communities while increasing transparency on their “home or business fire risk score.” This regulation is in its final stage of adoption.
- New sponsored insurance coverages signed by Governor Newsom – despite opposition from insurance companies – it will mean bigger payouts for some consumer claims, less red tape from insurance companies and more help for those under orders evacuation.
- I ordered the FAIR Planthe state’s insurer of last resort, to offer a more comprehensive home policy as an option, which a judge confirmedas well as increasing residential and commercial coverage limits for the first time in 25 years to keep pace with inflation and rising costs.
Following Governor Newsom’s declaration of a state of emergency, the Department of Insurance is partnering with CAL FIRE and CalOES, in accordance with existing status, to identify wildfire perimeters for mandatory moratorium areas. The Department of Insurance will continue to work with CAL FIRE and CalOES to identify additional wildfire perimeters for any fire where there is a declaration of a state of emergency.
- The mandatory one-year moratorium announced today covers approximately 31,000 residential policies in ZIP codes in or near the Mountain, Barnes, and Fork fires under Senate Bill 824 (Lara, Chapter 616, 2018 Statutes), also known as the “Wildfire Safety and Recovery Act”.
- On September 19, 2022, Governor Newsom proclaimed a emergency state in Siskiyou, Modoc and Madera counties due to the Mountain, Barnes and Fork fires.
- The 2018 law established protection for people living in or near a declared wildfire emergency, whether or not they suffer a loss – recognizing disturbances for the first time in law non-renewals are causing in communities as a result of wildfires. Owners who have suffered a total loss of property have up to 24 months of protection against non-renewal or cancellation.
- Consumers can go to Insurance Department website to find the Commissioner’s Bulletin to see if their postal code is included in this moratorium.
Source: CA. Insurance Department