California to require insurance discounts for property owners who reduce wildfire risk
The California Legislature passed bills this year that require insurance companies to provide property owners with discounts for taking measures to protect their homes from wildfires, and to require them to offer discounts to renters who use sprinklers to protect their properties.
Both measures are needed in order to allow California, which has extensive wildfire experience but is still one of the most densely populated states in the country, to move forward with its goal of achieving a 5 percent reduction in wildfire size, according to state regulators.
“This legislation is very important, because without it we might not be moving forward.”
“Without it we might not be moving forward,” he said. “This bill creates a statewide incentive for businesses and government to take proactive action. This legislation is very important, because without it we might not be moving forward with our plan and achieving the appropriate reductions.”
State regulators began investigating the issue in early 2015 after wildfires ravaged hundreds of California homes, killed 14 people, and prompted the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of residents.
State fire officials have found that more homes have been destroyed by fires in California in recent years than in the rest of the country, but that some homes, particularly older homes built before mandatory wildfire evacuation laws were put into place, have failed to comply with that mandate. There are no statewide statistics showing how many homes did not comply with the mandate, and no data on the percentage of homes built before the mandatory fires were lifted that have been damaged or destroyed in fires.
Since 2015, the state has also required many insurers to offer fire-protection discounts to certain home owners, and to pay certain fees to help fund a program designed to reduce fire deaths and injuries.
California regulators have been investigating the fire-protection discount programs for years, in part because of a complaint by a California insurance agent that his company had been charging people extra fees to obtain discounts on a property-owner fire-protection program and making false claims that the program was not available elsewhere in the state.
In 2013, the state’s insurance commissioner issued a “temporary rule” requiring insurance companies to ensure that their properties were protected by fire-