This week, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara and state emergency agencies issued the “Safer from Wildfires” framework to protect existing home and communities.
Drawing on the direct experience of first responders, fire safety experts, and the latest research on wildfires, Insurance Commissioner Lara and emergency management leaders in Governor Gavin Newsom’s Administration on Monday announced “Safer from Wildfires,” a new insurance framework that incorporates wildfire safety measures to help save lives while making homes and businesses more resilient. You can view the recorded event on the Department of Insurance’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/insurancecagov/videos/292620959556743
“Safer from Wildfires” provides a list of achievable, effective actions that will help reduce risk for property owners, including community-wide safety recommendations to prevent the spread of wildfire to other properties. This is the first time that state agencies have been brought together to identify mitigation actions that insurance companies should consider for existing homes and businesses. Commissioner Lara initiated the partnership in February 2021 with the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES), the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR), and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) after hearing about this issue in meetings with thousands of homeowners across California and holding the first ever investigatory hearing about wildfires and insurance in October 2020. “I am using every tool available to protect Californians while reducing the risk of wildfires,” said Commissioner Lara, who is pursuing a comprehensive strategy to safeguard insurance for consumers through risk reduction, stronger consumer protections, and improvements to the FAIR Plan, California’s insurance safety net. “Making homes and businesses safer from wildfires protects all Californians, saving lives, reducing losses, and making insurance more available and affordable for all.” “Today’s announcement is an important step forward in providing clear guidance to homeowners and insurance companies alike on the actions they can take to keep their properties safe,” said Mark Ghilarducci, Director of the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. “The work done by this coalition is an important part of the wider effort underway by the Newsom Administration to build greater community resilience by investing in infrastructure improvements.” Safer from Wildfires is a three-layer plan that lists actions to protect the structure, the immediate surroundings, and the entire community. Download the one-pager overview and the full list of actions at the Department of Insurance website. To see the full announcement and find additional visit http://www.insurance.ca.gov/0400-news/0100-press-releases/2022/release015-2022.cfm The list of proposed mitigation actions is available to download from the Department of Insurance website. Watch a short video of Commissioner Lara joining tribal groups to expand prescribed fire In addition to his recent “Safer from Wildfires” announcement Commissioner Lara recently joined tribal groups and firefighters from across California and other states in Humboldt County for a training on the use of prescribed fire. The Yurok Tribe which hosted the training has long used prescribed fire for cultural reasons and to protect from wildfire. Commissioner Lara supported the creation of a $20 million prescribed fire liability fund in the 2021 California budget to help tribal groups and others find insurance allowing them to expand the use of prescribed fire. “Native Americans have been doing prescribed burns for centuries,” Commissioner Lara said. ‘It’s critical to treat our land, to care for our land, and also manage it so we do not have the megafires that we have been experiencing throughout our state. What I plan to do is continue to support prescribed burns, continue to fight for more funding and ensure we have the resources we need to continue to fight against these wildfires.” Read more about the Commissioner’s support for the prescribed fire liability fund with the Nature Conservancy and other state groups.