Residential Insurance Assistance Available for Residents
With wildfires ravaging the state, many homeowners in hillside neighborhoods, like those in Norco, may have experienced significant rate hikes or lost their insurance coverage entirely because companies are refusing to insure high-risk customers.
Following through on his pledge to enhance transparency, California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara will hold a pre-notice workshop on proposed wildfire risk score regulations on March 30, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. While the proposed regulations are complex, the general issue involves consideration of mitigation measures when establishing insurance rates. Following input from the public, the Commissioner will begin the formal regulatory process leading to adoption of new rules.
Although these workshops are traditionally held in-person, this one will be conducted in a Zoom virtual web-conferencing format due to existing COVID-19 restrictions. The regulations under consideration could have a direct impact on some residents’ ability to secure fire insurance or upon the rates they pay. The anticipated benefits of the contemplated regulations include the following:
- Incentivizing individual and community mitigation efforts by requiring consideration of property- and community-level mitigation against wildfire risk;
- Reducing the risk of loss posed by wildfires;
- Improving accuracy in the classification of wildfire risk and the resulting rates and premiums;
- Increasing transparency in, and consumer awareness of, insurers’ rating and/or scoring of wildfire risk;
- Enhancing consumer protection by establishing a consumer appeals process;
- Reducing unfair discrimination by enhancing consistency in insurers' wildfire rating practices and/or risk scoring practices; and
- Potentially improving availability and affordability of property-casualty insurance for communities and properties where wildfire mitigation measures have been implemented.
For Norco residents interested in viewing or participating in this workshop:
Date: March 30, 2021
Time: 1:00 p.m. The virtual workshop shall continue until all in attendance wishing to provide comments have commented, or 5:00 p.m., whichever is earlier.
Location: Log onto the web videoconference by clicking on the following link: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_G2-teZmlTi-HXmcsUm5h4w
In the face of pandemics, unemployment and wildfires, many Norco families may be struggling to maintain sufficient insurance for their home, business or vehicles. The California Department of Insurance (CDI) is assisting California residents find affordable insurance, even in challenging times.
Government Resources: Many Californians have lost, or are in jeopardy of losing, their property insurance, business liability insurance or auto insurance due to unemployment and business downturns related to COVID-19, as well as wildfires and other natural disasters. California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara has pledged the full support of the California Department of Insurance to local government agencies in identifying resources for residents who have lost insurance. Additionally, Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes’s Office is available to assist residents with insurance-related issues.
Proposition 103, passed by California voters in 1988, protects consumers from excessive, inadequate or discriminatory insurance rates, requiring most rate changes to receive prior approval by the CDI. It also ensures a role for public participation in the deliberation of rate changes. As part of its effort to collaborate with local governments, CDI has assigned an Outreach Officer to the City of Norco, as well as an Ombudsman for direct constituent case work.
Residential Insurance Resources: With wildfires ravaging the state, many homeowners in hillside neighborhoods have experienced significant rate hikes or have lost their insurance coverage entirely because companies are refusing to insure high-risk customers. If you have received a non-renewal notice and would like the Department of Insurance to investigate your specific non-renewal, please submit a Request for Assistance (RFA) to the Department of Insurance at https://cdiapps.insurance.ca.gov/CP/login/. Please make note of the seven-digit case number that is provided upon submission in case follow-up assistance is necessary.
In California, the FAIR Plan provides insurance as a last resort, available to homeowners only after all other efforts to obtain coverage have been exhausted. Statewide, the increase in FAIR Plan policies increased 36% in 2019, and 112% in areas with a moderate to high fire risk. More information on the California FAIR Plan can be found at www.cfpnet.com.
It is important to remember that proper, common sense fire mitigation measures can reduce the risk of loss due to fire, and increasing those efforts can make it easier to obtain insurance. Some insurance companies even provide discounts for responsible property owners who adhere to fire-wise landscaping and construction guidelines. Homeowners can review fire safety tips at www.readyforwildfire.org.
For more information on finding residential insurance, visit https://bit.ly/2YQp15P.
Health Insurance Resources: The annual open enrollment period for the Covered California health insurance exchange was scheduled to close on January 31, 2021. However, the agency announced that anyone uninsured and eligible to enroll in health care coverage can sign up during a special enrollment period from February 15 through May 15, 2021, pursuant to a COVID-19 executive order from President Biden. Regardless of open enrollment periods, anybody who experiences an involuntary loss of coverage, relocation, change in marital status, or the birth of a child, is eligible to enroll for affordable health insurance coverage from Covered California throughout the year. Visit www.healthforcalifornia.com for additional information.
More Information: More information on insurance issues can be found at www.insurance.ca.gov, and residents experiencing difficulties in obtaining affordable insurance may contact Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes’ Office at (951) 371-6860 or the CDI Ombudsman at (916) 492-3457 or firstname.lastname@example.org.