Insurance companies refusing to write policies for fire-risk areas in California, report finds

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As the Thomas Fire erupted into California's largest wildfire in modern history, many residents in Ventura County continue to pick-up the pieces. (KABC)

As the Thomas Fire erupted into California's largest wildfire in modern history, many residents in Ventura County continue to pick-up the pieces.

The blaze led people who saw the devastation to look for insurance to protect themselves from future fires. But they found that there is either none available to them or it's too expensive for them to afford.

In a new report, more and more insurance companies are refusing to write policies for at-risk areas.

"This is very frustrating for homeowners to do and everything the fire officials tell them to do, at the same time the home insurer is not writing insurance," said Dave Jones, state insurance commissioner.

Jones added that the California Department of Insurance doesn't have the authority it needs to keep insurance companies in check on the issue.

So on Wednesday, he announced recommendations to lawmakers who have the power to write consumer protection laws that would allow residents in high-risk fire areas to still be able to afford insurance.

"One of our recommendations to address that is that if the homeowner does these things to protect their homes, then the insurance has to be written to protect them," Jones said.

Basically, if homeowners conduct fire mitigation on their property, insurers must insure that property at an affordable rate.

"We have a major problem here in California, and if the last year's fires didn't teach us that we've got to do something about it - shame on us," he said.

While the Thomas Fire is the largest fire in modern state history, it was the Tubbs Fire in Northern California that is considered the most destructive. It burned down more than 5,000 structures and killed 21 people.

In fact, five of the 20 most destructive fires in state history happened in 2017. The Thomas Fire is considered the seventh most destructive.

Related Topics:
brush firewildfireinsuranceThomas Firehouse fireevacuationVenturaVentura CountySanta Barbara County
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