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By: Matthew Jones
The California Insurance Commissioner recently proposed a plan titled the California Fair Access to Insurance Requirements Plan (“FAIR Plan”) to help ease the burden of homeowners in areas threatened by wildfires. The recent large wildfires throughout the state have impacted some homeowners’ efforts to obtain insurance to protect their property. The FAIR Plan is designed to sell insurance to homeowners who otherwise could not purchase it through no fault of their own. As of now, the policies typically cover only damage from fire and disasters. However, the Insurance Commissioner is reportedly hoping to expand on the coverage provided to other losses, such as water damage and theft. That proposal was met with litigation from the FAIR Plan Association, arguing that expanding the scope of coverage will increase premiums and other rates of the policyholders. The court sided with the Insurance Commissioner on the issue. These proposals follow recent years of extensive wildfire damage in California, including 14,270 structures burning over approximately 6,486,012 acres since 2019. Although the FAIR Plan may provide opportunities for homeowners to protect their property in areas prone to wildfires, it unfortunately, will not prevent wildfires themselves. Additional measures by the California government will be necessary to control wildfires and damage to property, in turn potentially lowering premiums and rates for homeowners.