Wildfire Insurance Legislation Approved by State Assembly

Monday, May 14, 2018

(Sacramento, CA) – The state Assembly approved a bill by Assemblymember Marc Levine that combats underinsurance issues revealed by 2017 wildfires.

AB 1797 by Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-Marin County) passed with a 77-0 floor vote. The bill would create a requirement for insurers writing residential property insurance to conduct a replacement cost estimate on an every other year basis. This would ensure policy holders are covered with current and timely amounts that accurately reflect their property’s value.

“We heard from wildfire survivors about the devastating realization of being underinsured due to inaccurate or outdated replacement cost models used by insurers,” said Assemblymember Marc Levine. “After facing the most destructive wildfires in state history, Californians should not have to begin the recovery process underinsured. This legislation will help protect consumers and help prevent underinsurance.”

Two other wildfire insurance bills by Assemblymember Marc Levine passed the Assembly Floor late last month.

AB 1799 standardizes what information about policies insurance companies are required to provide to fire victims after a loss. The bill requires the insurer to provide the policyholder with all the information they need to understand the coverage they paid for, including the full insurance policy, any endorsements to the policy, and the policy declarations page. This will provide wildfire survivors with transparency from their policy providers while rebuilding.

AB 1800 allows homeowners to use Extended Replacement Cost and Building Code Upgrade coverage to rebuild on a different lot or buy a home at a different location after a total loss. Currently, insurers can withhold this coverage unless the owner rebuilds on the same lot. AB 1800 will give wildfire victims flexibility when working with insurance companies during the recovery process.

The bills will next be heard in the Senate Insurance Committee.  

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Assemblymember Marc Levine represents the 10th Assembly District which includes Marin and Sonoma Counties.