California to require insurance discounts for property owners who reduce wildfire risk
The California governor signed legislation Wednesday to require insurance companies to offer property owners discounts if they choose to lower the risk of wildfire on their property.
The law, which Gov. Jerry Brown signed after a year-long process, requires insurers to offer the discounts to property owners who reduce the risk of a wildfire on their property. Insurers may not charge higher rates if they do not offer the discounts, according to the governor’s press office.
The measure, Assembly Bill 1120, is part of a larger set of wildfires prevention bills that the state Legislature approved earlier this year. The legislation was sponsored by Assemblyman Steven Bradford, R-Marina Del Rey, and State Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles. It passed both the Assembly and the Senate unanimously last week.
The law is one of many that are aimed at reducing the wildfire risk in California. Last year, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection issued several regulations on how to reduce wildfire risk. It called for more fire-fighting resources for areas most at risk.
The law is the first that requires insurers to charge more if they do not offer the property owner discount. “It’s the first regulation that’s directed to insurance companies,” de León said. “They can’t just continue to charge what they want. They have to start being more responsive to consumers.”
The new law is a combination of legislation from the governor, the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown himself. The law took roughly four months to get through, and took Brown’s signature after a year-long process, according to the governor’s press office.
“This legislation recognizes the value of insurance coverage that protects people and property in California’s communities from the dangers posed by natural disasters such as wildfires and earthquakes,” Gov. Brown’s press office said in a statement. “This state is facing the difficult task of reducing wildfire risk and protecting property from the devastating impacts of these events.”
Brown was set to sign the measure as part of an open house in San Diego on Wednesday. Brown was also scheduled to have the bill formally signed by the governor when he returned from San Diego on Thursday.
The governor’s office said that after Brown signed the law in December,