CA Insurance Commissioner Protects Wildfire Survivors

How California Insurance Commissioner, Dave Jones, Vows to Protect Wildfire Survivors

The wildfires that occurred last year impacted many California residents from North to South. Not only did these fires ruin properties and homes, but also claimed the lives of innocent bystanders. Despite this recent tragedy, insurers have been alleged to “kill” or “water down” legislative packages that were initially proposed to protect these victims, as well as future survivors of these natural disasters. CA Insurance Commissioner, Dave Jones, has taken the initiative to protect these victims.

Meeting to Finding a Solution

In hopes of finding a proper solution to the matter, CA Insurance Commissioner Jones attended a Senate Insurance Committee hearing among Legislators on April 25, 2018. Joining Jones in this hearing were Senators Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg and Bill Dodd, D-Napa. Both Senators Mike McGuire and Bill Dodd have experienced disasters first-hand when their home communities were affected. Given their experience, their proposed bills address current cataclysmic events that have severely impacted countless numbers of residents.

The Bills Proposed

Senator McGuire’s bill, SB 897, requires insurance providers to fulfill at least 80 percent of the limit for a policyholder’s personal-property coverage ” this does not require a written inventory. Apart from McGuire’s proposed bill, Senator Dodd’s bill, SB 894, would grant policyholders the ability to combine multiple coverage types to their homeowner policy. This is in hopes of compensating any covered losses.

2017 Recap

Last year was one of the most destructive years ever recorded in California history. Some of the most dangerous include:

  • La Tuna in Los Angeles: from September 1st ” September 9th, 7,194 acres destroyed, 5 homes and 5 structures destroyed
  • Canyon in Riverside: from September 25th ” October 4th, 2,662 acres destroyed, 6 structures damaged
  • Atlas in Napa/Sonoma: from October 8th ” October 31st, 51,624 acres destroyed, 6 fatalities, 785 structures destroyed, 40 structures damaged
  • Tubbs in Napa/Sonoma: from October 8th ” October 31st, 36,807 acres destroyed, 22 fatalities, 1 injured, 5,643 structures destroyed
  • Nuns in Sonoma: from October 8th ” October 30th, 56,556 acres destroyed, 3 fatalities, 1,200 structures destroyed
  • Canyon 2 in Orange: from October 9th ” October 18th, 9,217 acres destroyed, 25 structures destroyed, 55 structures damaged
  • Thomas in Ventura: from December 4th ” January 12th, 281,893 acres destroyed, 1,063 structures destroyed, 280 structures damaged, 2 injured firefighters, 1 firefighter and 1 civilian killed
  • Creek in Los Angeles: from December 5th ” January 9th, 15,619 acres destroyed, 123 buildings destroyed, 81 buildings damaged, 3 injured firefighters
  • Skirball in Los Angeles: from December 6th ” December 15th, 422 acres destroyed, 6 structures destroyed, 12 structures damaged, 3 injured firefighters

While the above are fires that happened last year, the list should serve as a reminder as to what we can expect in the years following. California is at a huge risk for loss when it comes to seasonal fires. Without the help of these legislative packages from Legislators or insurance providers, much of our California will suffer after another fire.

“Insurers are pulling out all the stops to defeat our efforts to provide wildfire survivors and homeowners peace of mind when disaster strikes,” said Commissioner Jones. “Thousands of Sonoma and Napa area residents lost everything and survived the fires only to face more emotional distress, as they were faced with trying to create detailed inventories or discovered they were underinsured and may not have enough to rebuild their homes. This is about doing the right thing for consumers who buy their homeowner policy believing they have enough coverage to rebuild should the worst happen, pay their premiums faithfully, and then find they are coming up short when disaster strikes.”

Additional Fire Damage Resources from JT Legal Group

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