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Proposed bill could guarantee wildfire insurance coverage

This bill comes after concerns that some companies dropping coverage is creating a "domino effect."

Posted: Feb 19, 2020 7:55 PM

PARADISE, Cali. - California homeowners could be guaranteed fire insurance coverage if a new assembly bill passes.

The bill would force companies to keep insuring homeowners in wildfire zones.

"I think it needs to hurry up and be put into law," former Paradise resident Kelly Becker said.

This bill comes after concerns that some companies dropping coverage is creating a "domino effect", says California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, who introduced the bill alongside two assemblymen.

If passed into law, it would force insurers to renew policies and continue to write new ones in communities that meet fire safety standards.

Some homeowners who are battling to find insurance say numbers are sky-rocketing.

"Last month I received my notice of non-renwal so currently I am in that predicament where my broker is searching for reasonably priced coverage," Becker said. "And even when you do the amount is usually two to three times the amount that was paid prior to a disaster of any kind its kind of ridiculous."

The bill's proponents say homeowners are finding it increasingly difficult to stay, rebuild or sell their home due to limited options.

"It hasn’t been easy she says they’re being absolutely negative about the fire coverage which I'm still living in the area because I work in Paradise," she said.

Manager at Sinclair's Auto and Towing, Kelly Becker, says their building sustained the fire, but it’s not ideal when their insurance cost nearly tripled in the last year.

"It’s a struggle because the majority of our customer base is gone and our customers now are loyal we are staying busy but mostly we’re working to pay insurances," she said.

Insurance companies that lawmakers say are dropping responsible homeowners – ones that abide by the state standards for fire-scaping that would be required under this bill.

The bill would also set new “fire-hardening” standards for homes and require insurers to offer financial incentives for safety upgrades.

"Paradise is putting in a lot of effort there are trees coming down by the thousands and the residences that are still standing and are here have cleared their property’s and are still receiving non-renewal notices," Becker said.

Officials say there are still a number of details to be worked out before the bill takes effect.

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