HomeHome InsuranceCan Insurance Woes Finally End Sprawl?

Can Insurance Woes Finally End Sprawl?

Los Angeles Times columnists Erika D. Smith and Anita Chabria write that California shouldn’t expect home insurers to stick around if the state continues to build in unsafe areas at constant risk for wildfires and extreme weather events.

“Our most vulnerable communities often lie in our most vulnerable regions: mountains marred by years of unprecedented wildfires, or Central Valley farm fields drowned in record rains and now epic snowmelt,” according to the column. The wake up call needed to reverse decades of sprawling development patterns, according to Smith and Chabria, might come from the home insurance industry.

According to previous coverage in the Los Angeles Times, State Farm General Insurance Co. announced recently that it would no longer accept new applications for property and casualty coverage in California because of wildfire and construction costs. Allstate Corp. also recently informed the state Department of Insurance that it stopped selling new home insurance policies last year. Allstate is also seeking a nearly 40% rate increase for home and business property and casualty insurance, according to the article.

Planetizen also picked up the news about insurers “fleeing” California, but it should be noted that insurers are also leaving Florida, where insurance premiums are already much higher than in California—and other states facing climate risks along coastlines or at wildland-urban interfaces shouldn’t expect to be spared the same drama forever.

According to the source article, linked below, California is still at risk of doubling down on sprawl, following years of historic housing legislation intended to spur new residential development.

“The problem is Newsom and his administration have required little oversight of where all this housing is being built. Nor have they communicated a cohesive philosophy about mitigating the current and future development risks linked to climate change,” write Smith and Chabria.

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