The insurance commissioner announced Thursday that insurance companies cannot deny Santa Clarita homeowners coverage due to the risk of brush fires for the next year, officials said.
On Thursday, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara issued a mandatory one-year moratorium on insurance companies non-renewing policyholders which is set to help at least 800,000 homeowners in wildfire disaster areas in Northern and Southern California, including Santa Clarita, according to Lara’s office.
In August, the Department of Insurance released data revealing insurance companies are dropping an increasing number of residents in areas with high wildfire risk.
The number of non-renewals rose by more than 10 percent last year, the data showed.
The moratorium is the result of Senate Bill 824, authored last year by Lara while serving as a state senator in order to give temporary relief from non-renewals to residents living near a declared wildfire disaster, according to officials.
“This wildfire insurance crisis has been years in the making, but it is an emergency we must deal with now if we are going to keep the California dream of homeownership from becoming the California nightmare, as an increasing number of homeowners struggle to find coverage,” Lara said. “I am calling on insurance companies to push the pause button on issuing non-renewals for one year to give breathing room to communities and homeowners while they adapt and mitigate risks, give the Legislature time to work on additional lasting solutions, and allow California’s insurance market to stabilize.”
This is the first time the department has invoked the new law, which took effect in January, according to officials.
Due to the homeowner insurance crisis extends beyond the wildfire perimeters and impacts residents statewide, Lara went a step further and called on insurance companies to voluntarily cease all non-renewals related to wildfire risk statewide until December 5, 2020, in the wake of Governor Gavin Newsom’s declaration of statewide emergency due to fires and extreme weather conditions, according to officials.
A statewide moratorium would provide all California and Santa Clarita homeowners, renters and businesses peace of mind, and allow time for stakeholders to come together to work on lasting solutions, help reduce wildfire risk and stabilize the insurance market, said officials.Do you have a news tip? Call us at (661) 298-1220, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t miss a thing. Get breaking KHTS Santa Clarita News Alerts delivered right to your inbox. Report a typo or error, email Corrections@hometownstation.com
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