By Shiloh Wallack
On September 22, 2022, Ricardo Lara, Commissioner of the California Department of Insurance (DOI), issued a press release informing Californians that DOI will “protect insurance coverage for over 236,000 homeowners following wildfire emergencies in Northern and Southern California.” He plans to do this by issuing a mandatory, one-year mortarium preventing insurance companies from cancelling homeowner insurance policies and non-renewals specifically within the wildfire perimeter or in adjacent ZIP codes of the Mosquito and Fairview fires in the counties of Riverside, Placer, and El Dorado. The moratorium shields policyholders for one year from the date of Governor Newsom’s September 8, 2022 emergency declaration, regardless of whether they suffered a loss. With the concern for wildfires dramatically increasing in recent months, Commissioner Lara believes protecting fire insurance coverage for at least one year is critical “to give people breathing room.”
Commissioner Lara was able to issue this moratorium as a result of SB 872 (Dodd) (Chapter 261, Statutes of 2020), a law he authored as California state senator in 2018 to provide temporary relief from insurance non-renewals and cancellations for those living within or adjacent to a Governor-declared wildfire. [see 26:1 CRLR 154].
Due to the massive increase in both wildfire occurrences and subsequent number of acres burned, Commissioner Lara felt it paramount to issue this moratorium to protect the people of California. Additionally, Commissioner Lara and the rest of DOI have partnered with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal FIRE) and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) to help identify wildfire areas and issue further mandatory moratoriums.
This moratorium covers a myriad of ZIP codes. To see if your ZIP code is included within this moratorium and for more information, please go to the Department of Insurance Website.