Commissioner Lara Protects Insurance For Mariposa County Residents As Oak Fire Continues

Mariposa County from PG&E Mount Bullion Live Camera Friday, July 22, 2022 at 4:35 PM

August 1, 2022 – SACRAMENTO, Calif. – As the Oak Fire continues to threaten homeowners, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara today ordered insurance companies to maintain insurance coverage throughout Mariposa County after Governor Gavin Newsom issued an emergency declaration on July 23. The Commissioner Story protects property located in or near Oak Fire Zip Codes from non-renewal or suspension of insurance for one year from the date of the Governor’s proclamation on July 23 regardless of loss. The Oak Fire has now destroyed 124 homes and 66 outbuildings.

“Homeowners shouldn’t have to go to great lengths to get fire insurance when they’re dealing with a wildfire,” said Commissioner Lara. “By taking immediate action and prohibiting insurance companies from reissuing non-renewable items for one year, Mariposa County homeowners will have more time to recover.” This is part of a larger response to consumers that includes efforts to increase insurance coverage and increase market competition to protect consumers. “

Commissioner Lara’s ability to issue restrictions is the result of a California law he wrote in 2018 when he was a state senator to provide temporary relief from non-renewal insurance and bans for people living in or adjacent to a gubernatorial fire disaster.

Today’s ban covers 11 ZIP codes that affect nearly 8,000 law enforcement residents throughout Mariposa County. Other law enforcement officers in Madera and Merced counties are also affected.

The employees of the department are currently at Local Assistance Center at Mariposa County High School to help affected homeowners with their insurance questions. Buyers can go to Department of Insurance website to see if their ZIP Code is included in the suspension. Consumers should contact the insurance department at 800-927-4357 or via chat or email at insurance.ca.gov if they believe their insurance company is violating the law, or have additional questions about claims.

The Commissioner’s actions are part of a broader strategy targeting consumers and fire survivors that includes efforts to increase insurance protection and market competition to protect consumers. Commissioner Lara’s accomplishments since assuming office in 2019 include:

  • Proclaimed “Safer from Wildfires,” a new insurance policy that includes wildfire protection measures to help save lives while making homes and businesses more resilient. Safer in Wildfires was created by the first partnership between the Department of Insurance and the emergency and planning agencies of Governor Newsom’s Administration, including CAL FIRE, the Office of State Emergency Services (CalOES), the Office of State Planning and Research, and the California Public Utilities Commission.
  • The proposed new rules incorporating Safer from Wildfires into insurance rates, lowering costs for consumers who have taken steps to protect their communities and increase exposure to their home or business “wildfire risk”.
  • Supporting new insurance coverage was signed into law by Governor Newsom – despite opposition from the insurance industry – which could mean higher copays for some consumer products, less red tape from insurance companies, and more help for people who are ordered to move.
  • He ordered the FAIR Plangovernment insurance of the last resort, to provide a comprehensive plan for homeowners as a way, which a judge recently agreedand expanding the residential and commercial property limits for the first time in 25 years to match the increase in income.
Following Governor Newsom’s emergency declaration, the Department of Insurance is cooperating with the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES), respectively existing laws, to detect wildfires in restricted areas. The Department of Insurance will continue to work with CAL FIRE and CalOES to determine additional wildfire areas for each fire when there is a declaration of emergency.

Comments:

  • The one-year statutory moratorium announced today affects more than 8,000 jurisdictions living in ZIP Codes located in or adjacent to the Oak Fire under Senate Bill 824 (Lara, Chapter 616, Statutes of 2018), also known as the “Wildfire Safety and Recovery Act.” .
  • On July 23, 2022, Governor Newsom announced a emergency situation covering Mariposa County for the Oak Fire.
  • Although the existing law prohibits the non-rehabilitation and evacuation of those who are completely destroyed in the disaster-affected areas, the 2018 law established protection for those who live in or near the declared emergency whether they are lost or not – recognizing for the first time in the law the disruption that causes a lack of rehabilitation in communities following wildfire disasters. Homeowners who have lost all of their property have up to 24 months of protection from being refinanced or foreclosed on.
  • Buyers can go to Department of Insurance website to get the Commissioner’s Bulletin to see if their zip code is included in this suspension.
    Source: CA. Department of Ins.