Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) introduced new insurance reform legislation aimed at helping victims of wildfires and other major disasters. The legislation comes following the spate of devastating wildfires up and down the state, including the Tubbs, Atlas and Nuns fires in Senator Dodd’s district.
“I’ve heard from so many people reeling after losing everything they own, and I feel the state has a moral imperative to act,” said Senator Dodd. “Families pay insurance premiums year in and year out, and when major disasters strike, we need insurance companies to have our back. That’s why I introduced a bill to reform insurance coverage and improve consumer protections. It’s about helping victims and communities recover quicker and more completely after a disaster strikes.”
Dodd’s bill, SB 894, would require insurers to renew policies for disaster victims for a minimum of two years following the loss of a home, and it requires companies to report to the Insurance Commissioner if they subsequently non-renew or pull out of a market. The bill would also allow disaster victims to recover living expenses from their insurance company over 36 months, helping families make ends meet while they work to rebuild and recover. Lastly, Dodd’s bill would require an insurer to allow disaster victims to combine their policy limits for primary dwelling, other structures, contents, and additional living expenses, to pay for any of the covered purposes.
“Knowing that fires, floods, and other natural disasters will happen again, we need to take steps now to improve fairness, flexibility and transparency in insurance coverage,” said Senator Dodd. “Simply put, we need to do everything we can to help victims of natural disasters recover. Recovering from disasters takes a team effort, and I’ll continue pushing the state to do its part.”
Dodd’s bill is jointly authored with Senator Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) and co-authored by Assemblymember Marc Levine (San Rafael). The bill is expected to be heard in the Senate Committee on Insurance, Banking and Financial Institutions by this March.