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Commissioner Lara Protects Insurance Coverage for Siskiyou County Residents Following Wildfires

As wildfires in Siskiyou County continue to threaten homeowners, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara today ordered insurance companies to preserve residential insurance coverage for 8,500 affected homes following Governor Gavin Newsom’s emergency declaration. The Commissioner’s Bulletin shields those properties within the perimeter or in adjacent ZIP codes of the McKinney Fire and China 2 Fire from insurance non-renewal or cancellation for one year from the date of the Governor’s July 30 declaration regardless of whether they suffered a loss.

‘Siskiyou County residents have endured wildfire emergencies over the past three years and protecting their insurance is essential to recovery,’ said Commissioner Lara. ‘I will both continue to enforce this law to protect consumers and continue working to create long-term solutions to make our communities safer from wildfires.’

Commissioner Lara’s ability to issue moratoriums is a result of a California law he authored in 2018 while serving as state senator in order to provide temporary relief from insurance non-renewals and cancellations to residents living within or adjacent to a gubernatorial-declared wildfire disaster.

Today’s moratorium order includes 16 ZIP codes impacting an estimated 8,500 residential policyholders. Nearly 50 percent of Siskiyou County is affected by the order. ZIP codes in Del Norte and Humboldt counties are also included. Commissioner Lara previously protected homeowners insurance coverage for Siskiyou County residents following declared wildfire emergencies in 2020 and 2021.

Consumers can go to the Department of Insurance website to see if their ZIP code is included in the moratorium. Consumers should contact the Department of Insurance at 800-927-4357 or via chat or email at insurance.ca.gov if they believe their insurance company is in violation of this law, or have additional claims-related questions.

The Commissioner’s action is part of a larger solution he is pursuing for consumers and wildfire survivors that includes working to increase insurance protections and market competition to help protect consumers. Commissioner Lara’s actions since taking office in 2019 include:

Announced ‘Safer from Wildfires,’ a new insurance framework that incorporates wildfire safety measures to help save lives while making homes and businesses more resilient. Safer from Wildfires was created by a first-ever partnership between the Department of Insurance and the emergency and preparedness agencies in Governor Newsom’s Administration, including CAL FIRE, the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES), the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, and the California Public Utilities Commission.
Proposed new regulations to incorporate Safer from Wildfires in insurance pricing, driving down costs for consumers who have taken actions to protect their communities while increasing transparency about their home’s or business’s ‘wildfire risk score.’
Sponsored new insurance protections signed into law by Governor Newsom — despite opposition from insurance companies — that will mean larger payouts for some consumer claims, less red tape from insurance companies, and more help for people under evacuation orders.
Ordered the FAIR Plan, the state’s insurer of last resort, to offer a more comprehensive homeowners policy as an option, which a judge recently upheld, as well as expanding residential and commercial coverage limits for the first time in 25 years to keep pace with increased costs.
Following Governor Newsom’s state of emergency declaration, the Department of Insurance partners with the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES), pursuant to existing statute, to identify wildfire perimeters for mandatory moratorium areas. The Department of Insurance will continue to collaborate with CAL FIRE and CalOES to identify additional wildfire perimeters for any fires where there is a declaration of a state of emergency.

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California Department of Insurance

Led by Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, the California Department of Insurance is the consumer protection agency for the nation’s largest insurance marketplace and safeguards all of the state’s consumers by fairly regulating the insurance industry. Under the Commissioner’s direction, the Department uses its authority to protect Californians from insurance rates that are excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory, oversee insurer solvency to pay claims, set standards for agents and broker licensing, perform market conduct reviews of insurance companies, resolve consumer complaints, and investigate and prosecute insurance fraud. Consumers are urged to call 1-800-927-4357 with any questions or contact us at www.insurance.ca.gov via webform or online chat. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800-927-4357. Teletypewriter (TTY), please dial 800-482-4833.