California to require insurance discounts for property owners who reduce wildfire risk
California governor Jerry Brown announced on Wednesday he is introducing a bill to protect homeowners from catastrophic wildfire risk reduction by requiring insurance companies to offer discounts for property owners that reduce the risk of starting and/or responding to wildfire.
California Governor Jerry Brown
The California Association of Insurance Companies is backing the bill, which will be introduced by state Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco). Under Assemblyman Mike Gatto’s bill, insurance companies would be required to offer a 20 percent surcharge for property owners who reduce the risks of wildfire by installing firewalls, building dryer vents, lowering the flammability of combustible materials, taking measures to control odors in the home, purchasing and installing smoke detectors, installing a carbon monoxide detector, upgrading air filtration systems, installing a carbon-monoxide alarm system, or installing ventilation systems to minimize the loss of air circulation.
“The law that Governor Brown has proposed is an important piece of legislation that will help protect Californians and their property from fire,” said Steven K. Davis, the association’s president. “This bill has the potential to be the best insurance policy for California homeowners. It will help lower costs for consumers and provide a much-needed incentive for prudent home owners to reduce the fire risk.”
Insurance companies are already required to issue discount policies to consumers who reduce their wildfire risk by installing fire-resistant improvements such as smoke alarms and adding vents to their homes. California law already requires insurers to issue discount policies to consumers who reduce their risk of home fires by other means.
But this new bill would level the playing field for businesses and nonprofit organizations that also aim for wildfire risk reduction.
It would also apply to other categories of insurance, including commercial and farm property insurance.
Under the proposed law, insurers would be required to offer a 20 percent surcharge on all policies issued by insurance companies and other insurers where the property owner lowers the risk of a wildfire by installing firewalls, building dryer vents, lowering the flammability of combustible materials, taking measures to control odors in the home, purchasing and installing