SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara announced a package of executive actions aimed at improving insurance choices and protecting Californians from increasing climate threats while addressing the long-term sustainability of the nation’s largest insurance market. The largest insurance reform since state voters’ passage of Proposition 103 nearly 35 years ago, California’s Sustainable Insurance Strategy is a comprehensive approach building on Commissioner Lara’s multi-year effort to modernize California’s insurance market after meeting with thousands of Californians since he took office in 2019.
California Governor Gavin Newsom today issued an executive order urging prompt regulatory action in support of Commissioner Lara’s actions for communities affected by climate change.
The actions announced today are aimed at addressing problems fueled by climate change and being experienced by states across the nation including global inflation and increased costs for rebuilding that have led to several insurance companies pausing coverage for writing new homeowners and commercial insurance policies, non-renewing existing consumers, and increasing rates to maintain their financial stability. Unlike public utilities, which are required by law to cover all consumers, insurance companies will not write insurance, especially in high-risk areas, unless they are able to ensure they have the capital and reserves to fully meet all insurance claims submitted by consumers, cover their expenses, and earn a fair return. Insurance company actions following multiple years of major wildfires and winter storms have pushed more people to the FAIR Plan, which is intended as California’s insurer of last resort but has become the only option in some areas of the state.
“We are at a major crossroads on insurance after multiple years of wildfires and storms intensified by the threat of climate change. I am taking immediate action to implement lasting changes that will make Californians safer through a stronger, sustainable insurance market,” said Commissioner Lara. “The current system is not working for all Californians, and we must change course. I will continue to partner with all those who want to work toward real solutions.”
“This is yet another example of how climate change is directly threatening our communities and livelihoods. It is critical that California’s insurance market works to protect homes and businesses in every corner of our state,” said Governor Newsom. “A balanced approach that will help maintain fair prices and protections for Californians is essential. I look forward to continuing to work with Commissioner Lara and others to strengthen our marketplace and protect Californians.”