County-State Meet to Discuss Insurance Dilemma | TheUnion.com

County-State Meet to Discuss Insurance Dilemma

Nevada County Supervisors Dan Miller and Ed Scofield, County Executive Officer Alison Lehman, Information and General Services Director Steve Monaghan met with California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara and his staff to talk about homeowner fire insurance renewal issues specific to Nevada County.

Lara said that complaints to the California Department of Insurance (CDI) related to non-renewals are up nearly 600 percent since 2010 in areas with increased wildfire risk.

“The availability and affordability of Homeowners Fire Insurance has hit our community hard,” said County Executive Officer Alison Lehman. “Too many residents have lost their insurance, are at risk of losing their insurance, or may be unable to afford insurance with dramatic increases in premiums. Through lobbying efforts the Board of Supervisors have successfully elevated these issues to the California State Insurance Commissioner.”

Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara met with County officials to better understand local impacts as well as discuss resources that are available to residents.

“Too many residents have lost their insurance, are at risk of losing their insurance, or may be unable to afford insurance with dramatic increases in premiums…” — Alison Lehman.

In May, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved and sent a Letter of Concern to Insurance Commissioner Lara. The letter outlined the potential severity of the issue with approximately 76 percent of homeowner’s properties being located in elevated and extreme wildfire danger areas.

Scofield and Senior Administrative Analyst Jeffrey Thorsby were recently members of the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) Resiliency Advisory Board workgroup, established to advocate and advance resiliency policies that address prevention, response and recovery for crisis and catastrophic events, including wildfire.

Starting this month, the State is dispatching a Strike Team to areas affected by non-renewals and insurance availability. CDI staff will work with residents to connect them with resources and assist local governments in responding to insurance issues.

“We credit Commissioner Lara for taking multiple actions in responding to this crisis including proposing legislation, dispatching a Strike Team to areas affected by non-renewal and lack of insurance availability,” Lehman said, adding, “and setting up a consumer hotline to respond to consumer questions and investigate non-renewals for compliance with laws We look forward to hosting a Town Hall Meeting with Commissioner Lara later this month to facilitate a community conversation on this important issue.”

Residents can speak to a CDI representative directly by calling 1-800-927-4357.


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