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Fire Insurance Feedback Wanted

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Sonora, CA – California’s insurance commissioner will be holding a town hall in Sonora next week and wants to hear from the public regarding renewals, costs and getting dropped.

This comes in the wake of the commissioner, Ricardo Lara, reporting last week of a 600 percent spike since 2010 in non-renewal homeowners insurance complaints in high fire areas of the state. Lara has formed a California Department of Insurance (CDI) Strike Team to deal and connect all stakeholders, as detailed here.

Lara relays, “I have heard from many local communities about how not being able to obtain insurance can create a domino effect for the local economy, affecting home sales and property taxes.”

Fire insurance has been a hot topic in Tuolumne County since the Rim Fire when residents started reporting insurance renewal issues according to CAO Tracie Riggs. After a disappointing meeting earlier this year with Lara not seeming to understand the severity of the problem, as reported here, Riggs believes Lara’s perception has changed.

“He has been very actively engaged to really get information and to advocate for the homeowners who are experiencing this.” Riggs adds, “I suspect that we will see some legislation coming out of his office where he is advocating to make changes and I think that those will come very soon.”

One way to bring about those changes is to hear what homeowners are facing. Tuolumne County and the City of Sonora are teaming up with Lara’s office to host the Insurance Town Hall in Sonora.

Tuolumne County District I Supervisor Sherri Brennan, who also met with Lara recently notes, “This Town Hall will be a great opportunity for Tuolumne County residents to share their experiences, get answers to their questions, and learn about available resources. We hope people take advantage of the opportunity to speak to our State Insurance Commissioner about our concerns.”

The Insurance Town Hall will be held Thursday, August 29th at the Sonora Opera Hall at 250 South Washington Street/Highway 49 in Sonora beginning at 6 p.m.

Anticipating a large crowd with plenty of questions, Riggs shares, “I know they want to take early questions from people so there will be a link. People can submit those questions early so that when the commissioner comes in, he can answer those questions.”

The link can be found here. All questions submitted online and at the meeting will be followed up by the CDI staff. Also, complaints can be made to department representatives by calling 1-800-927-4357 or online by clicking here.

Of note, just last week Mother Lode realtors told Clarke Broadcasting of their homeowners insurance survey to collect hard data regarding how many homeowners are being affected and how. For further details and to take that survey click here.