California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara issues notices to insurers over wildfires

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Insurers have been advised to cease their cancellations and non-renewals in wildfire affected communities.

California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara has issued notices to homeowners’ insurance companies regarding the cessation of cancellations and non-renewals in communities suffering wildfire emergencies.

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Lara’s notices have advised insurers to stop such behaviors or risk violating Californian law.

The notices from the California Insurance Commissioner have to do with homeowners and renters’ policies in communities located near the state’s many major wildfires. Those communities will be identified by state Governor Gavin Newsom in emergency declarations. According to a statement released by Lara’s office, the notices issued are only a “preliminary step” in the protection they are establishing for policyholders.

Lara also went on to say that once identification has been made for each of the wildfire perimeters, he will then take the next step of issuing a ZIP code bulletin. That will include the ZIP codes to which a one-year moratorium will apply. This is not the first bulletin of this nature that Lara has issued. He also released on in July which covers more than 25,000 Californian policyholders with properties in Siskiyou, Lassen and Plumas counties. All those counties were covered under the July 16 emergency declaration from Governor Newsom.California insurance commissioner - Wildfire near homes

This indicates that the next bulletin from the California Insurance Commissioner will be similar.

“Governor Newsom’s emergency actions during this wildfire season provide additional assistance for survivors along with triggering insurance protections under a law passed in 2018 to allow people to keep their insurance as they recover,” said Lara. “I will continue to work with the governor’s administration to give people much-needed breathing room as they get back on their feet.”

The state insurance department is working alongside the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) as well as the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. Together, they are seeking to identify additional wildfire perimeters for any blazes where a state of emergency declaration has been made. Among these areas include Butte, Lassen, Alpine, El Dorado, Placer, Nevada, Plumas, Siskiyou, Shasta, Trinity and Tehama counties.

This year represents the third in a row in which the California Insurance Commissioner has issued moratorium notices. In 2020, more than 2.4 million policyholders received this type of one-year protection against cancellation and/or non-renewal.

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