HomeHome InsuranceCalifornia bill wants to evaluate home insurance discounts 

California bill wants to evaluate home insurance discounts 

A California lawmaker wants the state to consider expanding the list of insurance discounts homeowners are eligible for if they take steps to protect their properties from wildfires.

At a hearing Wednesday, Assemblyman Damon Connolly, a Democrat from San Rafael, said he wants he wants to make sure that homeowners are getting the proper deductions for the work that they do to mitigate fire risk.

Currently, the Department of Insurance requires companies to reduce prices for people take action on their individual properties and as part of their community. The set list of work includes having more fire resistant windows, clearing vegetation from around a home and joining a group of neighbors committed to fire protection.

Connolly, through Assembly Bill 2416, wants to require the department to revisit the discount program every three years to see if it needs to be updated or added to.

“These insurance discounts are a great incentive,” Connolly told the Assembly Insurance Committee. “It’s precisely what we want folks to be doing with their own homes and their own communities.”

Discounts proposed by some of the state’s largest insurers are still under department review or not yet gone into effect. Savings put forward by the companies vary — and there is no minimum reduction they must provide. As a result, homeowners who have done fire-proofing work may get little financial benefit in return.

The bill is opposed by trade groups representing insurance companies. One of them is the Personal Insurance Federation of California, which was represented at the hearing by lobbyist Seren Taylor.

Taylor said companies are opposed to how the department has set up the discounts. They want the state to only reward homeowners who do a series of steps, not for each individual action they take.

Beyond that, Taylor said insurers worry Connolly’s bill will cause issues with new regulations the department is proposing that will allow the use of computer models to estimate potential future losses from a wildfire. If the bill becomes law, it could require companies to have their models reviewed every time the state’s mitigation discount list is changed, Taylor said.

Despite those concerns, committee members advanced the bill with little opposition. Connolly said conversations about the measure will continue.

This story was originally published April 17, 2024, 1:28 PM.

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Stephen Hobbs is an enterprise reporter for The Sacramento Bee. He has worked for newspapers in Colorado, Florida and South Carolina.

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