Christopher Flavelle, THE NEW YORK TIMES
The state’s insurance regulator endorsed proposals that could reshape the real estate market, the latest sign of climate shocks hitting the economy.
At the start of wildfire season, California’s insurance regulator has backed sweeping changes to discourage home building in fire-prone areas, including looking at cutting off new construction in those regions from what is often their only source of insurance — the state’s high-risk pool.
The proposals, many of which would require approval by the State Legislature, could remake the real estate market in parts of California and are the latest sign of how climate change is beginning to wreak havoc with parts of the American economy.
On Friday, the insurance commissioner, Ricardo Lara, endorsed proposals that include halting state funding for infrastructure in certain areas prone to fire, leaving vacant lots undeveloped and the expansion of more stringent building codes.
“These ideas are going to be challenging,” Mr. Lara said at the beginning of a meeting of the Climate Insurance Working Group, which he established and which recommended the changes. “We are really going into uncharted territory.”
Read more at https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/04/climate/climate-California-wildfires-insurance.html?searchResultPosition=3
Tyler Silvy, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara on Monday announced an effort to establish home-hardening standards that could protect participating homeowners from canceled policies and soaring rates while providing a mechanism to encourage fire-safe retrofits that could save lives and property.
The effort, which will begin this month with meetings between state insurance, utilities, emergency and forestry leaders, will face a tight timeline, as it comes amid deepening worries over home insurance costs and availability in wildfire-prone areas of the state, where wildfire losses continue to mount.
“The commissioner’s goal is that there’s no time to waste on this,” Deputy Insurance Commissioner Michael Soller said in an interview Monday. “He would like to see standards be in place this year that insurance companies can start using to identify incentives for people, and that local governments can use to help guide some of their planning decisions and investments they’re making.”
The parameters of the statewide initiative have not been worked out, but officials say any move to implement uniform statewide standards for homeowners would likely be coupled with concessions and incentives from insurance companies, as well as new streams of state funding to offset home retrofit costs.
Read more at https://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/news/california-seeks-to-establish-new-fire-safe-standards-for-homes-insurers/