Governor Brown signed SB 824, the Wildlife Safety and Recovery Act, authored by Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), to expand insurance protections for homeowners following a wildfire disaster.
SB 824 prohibits insurance companies from cancelling or not renewing any homeowner policies for one year within and immediately surrounding a declared emergency area – extending protections that currently exist for those who experience total loss to those whose homes survive the blaze.
SB 824 also orders insurance companies to report detailed wildfire risk data to the Department of Insurance, in order to give a full picture of the insurance market in an era of increasing wildfires.
“SB 824 gives disaster survivors time to rebuild their lives without the unnecessary stress of losing their home insurance and putting their life’s investment at risk,” said Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens). “SB 824 also fills a gap of critical data about the availability and affordability of insurance to ensure a healthy market that will combat the growing risk of extreme wildfires.”
Governor Brown has declared 22 states of emergency for wildfires in the past 18 months. An emergency declaration would trigger the protections in SB 824 for those living within the fire perimeter or adjacent zip codes.
California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment predicts that the area burned by wildfires could grow by 77% and lead to higher insurance costs.