An article in the June 21 LA Times by Michael Hiltzik detailed the latest effort by the insurance industry to neuter the consumer protections guaranteed by Proposition 103. Proposition 103 was adopted in 1988, creating the office of insurance commissioner, and has been a thorn in the side of the home insurance industry ever since. Industry lobbyists lament that our annual premiums are “17 percent below the national average and almost one-half of the average price in hurricane states like Louisiana and Florida.” They also claim that higher rates will result in more companies entering the California market, which will result in lower increases overall.
AB 2167 was introduced in the CA State Assembly on Feb. 11, 2020. The bill was sponsored by Tom Daly, an Anaheim Democrat who also happens to be the chairman of the insurance committee. The insurance committee passed the bill on May 7 with a 14-0 vote. The appropriations committee passed it with a 17-0 vote on June 3. The full assembly passed it with a 61-3 vote on June 8. It is now in front of the CA State Senate.
You’re probably thinking, “If I haven’t heard of it and it passed the assembly that easily... How bad could it be?” The answer is pretty bad. The insurance commissioner will lose a significant amount of power, including the approval or disapproval of rate increases. Rates would be set by an insurance market action plan for each county. There would no longer be any provision that requires an insurance company that wants to sell in the California market to cover any percentage of the higher risk areas within each county where they have a presence. California Fair Plan also seems to be in danger. Call any California senator you can get on the phone now and register your concern.
My wife and I own a home and live in a neighborhood that lost about 21 houses in the Woolsey Fire. We didn’t even have a smoke damage claim. We recently were notified that our policy will not be renewed on July 17. We are now waiting for a quote for alternative coverage. Last year on an income property over eight miles outside of the Woolsey burn area, the best quote we could get was 300 percent greater than what we had been paying. We bought the policy and kept shopping. Three months later, we were able to get substitute coverage at only 50 percent higher than what we had been paying before the fire, which looked like a bargain.
Please let me know how you are doing with your insurance needs in Malibu.
Everything is reopening but we still need to be cautious. LA County just reported an average of 1,900 new COVID-19 cases per day for Saturday and Sunday. This is a substantial increase over the previous average. Please protect yourselves and your acquaintances by wearing a mask or face covering when you are out and about. A recent article asks that we avoid purchasing, or using, N95 or KN95 masks that have a valve body on the mask. The valve opens when you exhale and allows your respiratory droplets to bypass the filter medium and endanger those you are conversing with.