California Commissioner Issues Another Non-Renewal Moratorium to Aid Policyholders Affected by Wildfires

California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara has issued notices to insurers alerting them to cease non-renewals and cancellations of insurance coverage for communities with wildfire emergencies.

Lara's notices cover homeowners and renters insurance policyholders living near major wildfires included in emergency declarations by California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Last year, Lara ordered similar protections for more than 2.4 million policyholders from non-renewal or cancellations for one year following the largest wildfires in the state's history.

Once each fire perimeter is identified, Lara issues a bulletin identifying ZIP codes that will be subject to a one-year moratorium. Lara has already issued a bulletin for more than 25,000 policyholders in Lassen, Plumas, and Siskiyou counties covered under Governor Newsom's July 16 emergency declaration for the Lava Fire and the Beckwourth Complex Fire.

Mark Sektnan, vice president of state government relations, for the American Property Casualty Insurance Association, said insurers anticipated Lara's announcement.

“Moratoriums will be declared whenever the governor makes a state disaster declaration,” Sektnan said. “We expected additional moratoriums would be declared for the Dixie and Caldor Wildfires. Insurers will always comply with the law. Insurers are committed to California and are working to manage the risk they assume and meet the needs of policyholders. Insurers are actively helping policyholders evacuated from the ongoing fires.”

He said it's important to “adapt to climate-induced wildfires” for the long-term, which includes using the latest tools and technology to improve fire risk assessment for homeowners in wildland areas, “with the goal of ultimately improving accessibility to insurance coverage.”

The California Department of Insurance is collaborating with CalFire and the Governor's Office of Emergency Services to identify additional wildfire perimeters for any fires where there is a declaration of a state of emergency, including Newsom's July 23, August 5, August 10, August 17, and August 30 declarations affecting parts of Alpine, Butte, El Dorado, Lassen, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama and Trinity counties.

Consumers can go to the CDI's website to see if their ZIP code is included in the current moratorium and to read his notices to insurance companies.

This is the third consecutive year that Lara has implemented a moratorium.

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