Assemblymember Jim Wood Joins California Legislators and Insurance Commissioner to Announce Wildfire Survivors Recovery Blueprint

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

SACRAMENTO— Today Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, Assemblymembers Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg), Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Napa), Marc Levine (D-Marin County) and Monique Limon (D-Santa Barbara) and Senators Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) and Bill Dodd (D-Davis) announce a package of more than a dozen bills to increase consumer protections for wildfire survivors. These insurance reforms will improve insurance coverage transparency for wildfire and other disaster victims.

“Devastating disasters, like the massive wildfires and mudslides we recently experienced throughout California, exposed significant gaps and deficiencies in how we protect our residents,” said Wood. “Late on the night of October 8, people ran for their lives to escape the chasing flames of a fire that whipped through their neighborhoods. Days later, those who survived returned to stand in front of their completely burned down home, and as they looked to their left and to their right, realized they were standing in the middle of a completely decimated neighborhood that resembled a war zone.”

As the victims of the wildfires and mudslides turned to their insurance companies for help, many discovered that their policy was not going to be enough to rebuild their homes and their lives.

“We have learned painfully, whenever a widespread disaster hits like these did, whether it is a fire, earthquake or flood, the expense and effort of rebuilding is exponentially more expensive than replacing a single home, and we need to help consumers better understand the insurance they have and the options available to them,” said Wood.

Although some California insurance companies offer additional coverage for up to 25% extended replacement cost, the bill Wood is introducing will require all insurance companies to offer, as an option, coverage for no less than 50 percent extended replacement cost for residential properties. Additionally, this legislation will require insurance companies to advise their customers of this option, and the cost for that coverage, before a policy is issued or renewed.

“Knowing that fires, floods and other disasters will happen again, we need to act now to improve consumers’ understanding of the insurance policies they have now and the improved options they will have for additional coverage under this bill,” said Wood.

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Assemblymember Jim Wood (D- Healdsburg) represents the 2nd Assembly District, which includes all of Del Norte, Trinity, Humboldt and Mendocino counties, plus northern and coastal Sonoma County, including the northern half of Santa Rosa.