Commissioner-sponsored bill to protect wildfire survivors signed by Governor

SACRAMENTO, Calif. Aug. 28, 2018 – Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced today that a bill he sponsored to protect California wildfire survivors has been signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown. Assembly Bill 1797, authored by Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-San Rafael), strengthens consumer protections and aims to address critical issues facing wildfire survivors.

“This bill is an important step in the right direction, but it’s disappointing that some insurers got the original version of the bill amended so that it no longer requires insurers to provide an annual replacement cost estimate,” said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. “It is critical that homeowners have enough information annually to make informed insurance coverage decisions to give them the peace of mind that insurance is meant to provide. I thank the Governor for signing this bill and Assemblymember Levine for championing it in the Legislature to help homeowners avoid being underinsured in the future.”

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AB 1797 (Levine) is aimed at making sure that homeowners are given an updated replacement cost estimate for their home. Current regulations require a complete and comprehensive estimate of the cost to replace a home when a replacement estimate is provided by the insurer, but state law does not mandate that insurers produce or regularly update a replacement cost calculation. AB 1797 would require insurers to either provide a policyholder with a full replacement cost estimate every other year or apply an inflation factor to the dwelling limit at each renewal and clearly offer the consumer the option to obtain a full replacement cost estimate.