California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara on Thursday increased commercial coverage limits for the state’s insurer of last resort for the first time since the 1990s.
“Offering expanded coverage to businesses will help as our state continues its economic recovery from the pandemic,” said Lara.
The changes will allow farms and wineries in high wildfire risk areas to secure the insurance needed to continue operating. Roger Isom, who leads trade groups for processors and cotton ginners, said the new limits will be “a lifeline to farm owners and agricultural processing facilities in fire-prone areas that have lost coverage through the insurance market.”
The proposed increases will rise from $4.5 million to $8.4 million for the Division 1 Commercial Property Program and from $3.6 million to $7.2 million for the Division II Businessowners Program. The changes will take effect before May 1.
The insurance department is also proposing new regulations that would require insurers to factor wildfire safety actions into the pricing of commercial and residential insurance.
The changes would lead to discounts in coverage for safety precautions and provide transparency on how insurers score properties for wildfire risk.