SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Insurance claims for this year’s California wildfires have topped $9 billion. Now there is a concern that insurance companies could stop insuring Californians.
Insurance companies are in the business of making money. It’s happened before after fires, hurricanes and other natural disasters. When the risk is too high, some companies stop insuring.
Claims for this year’s infernos in California are so overwhelming that one small insurer, Merced Property and Casualty, went belly up.
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones warned residents Wednesday that insurers may raise rates, stop renewing policies in high-risk areas, or quit writing new policies altogether.
“It’s not that they’re redlining entire communities, but they’re going home by home and deciding what is the fire risk associated with each home and should they write insurance,” Jones said.
Jones says some decisions are based on inaccurate fire risk models. As he tries to keep California homeowners insures, Jones is frustrated that state lawmakers have ignored his request to force insurance companies to get state approval of the fire maps.
“My hope is legislature will look at those proposals again before we get into an absolute crisis,” Jones said.
He says these maps do not take into consideration the things people have done to protect their property. Additionally, Jones thinks homeowners should be able to appeal if they are denied coverage.
If you cannot find an insurance company to cover your home, there is always the insurance of last resort called The Fair Plan. CBS13’s Kurtis Ming warns that the plan is expensive and does not offer as much protection.