Californians are protecting themselves from wildfire. Why is there still an insurance crisis?

(CalMatters) -- As Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara rolls out his plan to try to reverse that trend, three state lawmakers are pushing for mitigation to be taken into account when insurers set premiums or when they decide whether to offer policies at all. Or they want mitigation to be more effectively tracked and strategized.

“We believe that if you do the homework, you should get the credit,” said state Sen. Josh Becker, the Democrat representing Menlo Park. “As a state, we’re doing that homework.”

Becker’s staff cites the billions of dollars the state has spent on reducing fuel and managing vegetation since 2017, when wildfires consumed many parts of California. The sum doesn’t include other spending on fire engines, air tankers and increasing staff for Cal Fire, which has added about 4,500 positions in the past decade.

A bill authored by Becker seeks to incorporate mitigation into insurance companies’ underwriting decisions — when they consider whether to write or renew policies. Senate Bill 1060 awaits a hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee.


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