by Amy Bach
Commission on Catastrophic Wildfire Cost and Recovery Meeting — April 3, 2019

 

Insurance remains a critically important source of disaster recovery financing for individuals, businesses and government, but insurers must do a better job at insuring homes to value and paying benefits in a timely manner, UP Co-Founder and Executive Director Amy Bach told a high level California Commission yesterday in Santa Rosa, CA.  Further, a recent attempt by at least one insurer to change their policies to limit payouts for wildfires and wildfire smoke and ash are illegal and must be nipped in the bud, Bach informed the Commission, providing them with a copy of a recent "reduction in coverage" notice issued by Farmers Insurance Company that improperly limits what the policy will pay in the event of a wildfire.

 

California law specifically prevents insurance companies from selling home insurance policies that offer less coverage than what is prescribed in the Standard Form Fire Policy contained in CA Insurance Code section 2071.  The wording change in the reduction of coverage notice runs afoul of the standard form.

 

Co-founder and Executive Director Amy Bach was on an expert testimony panel at the Commissioner's hearing along with Joel Laucher, Chief Deputy Commissioner, CA Department of Insurance, Rex Frazier, a lobbyist representing the Personal Insurance Federation and the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, Tom Welsh, General Counsel for the CA Earthquake Authority, and an actuary employed by Milliman Consulting who is based in Florida.  For more information about the Commission's charge, click here.

 

Representatives of PG&E and public officials also testified, including Sonoma County Supervisor Susan Gorin (who also lost her own home in the 2017 wildfires), and James Gore, along with impacted local residents and a Butte County resident who lost her home in the Butte Fire and holds PG&E responsible.

Summary of UP's testimony 

California considers adding state catastrophe fund to help homeowners in risk areas afford insurance

About The Blogger

Amy Bach

Amy Bach has been a professional advocate for insurance policyholders since 1984 and an attorney since 1989. She co-founded United Policyholders in 1991 and serves as the organization's Executive Director and primary spokesperson; shaping and overseeing the Roadmap to Recovery™, Roadmap to Preparedness, and Advocacy and Action programs. She is a nationally recognized expert on insurance claim and legal matters; frequently interviewed in print and broadcast media, and the author of numerous publications including "The Disaster Recovery Handbook", "WISE UP: The Savvy Consumer's Guide to Buying Insurance" and consumer tips and guides in the UP Claim Help Library.  Recognized by Money Magazine as a Money Hero, Bach is in her eighth consecutive term as an official consumer representative to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, and is a member of the Federal Advisory Committee on Insurance.  In 2019, Bach was appointed to a 3 year term as a member of the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Disaster Preparedness and Response.