Wildfires make it harder for California homeowners to get insurance

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As the cost and risk of California wildfires grow, it’s getting harder for homeowners to get and keep insurance in fire-prone regions including the Sierra foothills, Tahoe and some parts of the Bay Area.

Homeowners rejected by mainstream companies are turning in greater numbers to alternative carriers that provide less coverage, higher prices or both.

These alternatives include the California Fair Plan, the insurer of last resort for homeowners and renters, and surplus lines carriers such as Lloyds of London, which are much less regulated than mainstream, or “admitted,” firms regulated by the California insurance department. Since 2016, both have seen a surge in business, which has accelerated this year in the wake of November’s devastating Camp Fire.

The Fair Plan sold 33,898 policies in brush/wildland areas last year, up 25% from 2016. The Fair Plan does not have numbers for this year, but in some counties at very high risk of wildfires, they’re running 300% ahead of last year, said Tammy Schwartz, its vice president for underwriting and operations.

Read the rest of the story on the San Francisco Chronicle


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