Wednesday, August 26, 2009


California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner held a hearing Tuesday for Santa Barbara residents to discuss any concerns they have with the availability of private homeowners insurance and the Fair Plan.

"I heard Santa Barbara residents loud and clear when they called for an opportunity to voice their concerns about the Fair Plan and the availability of homeowners insurance in their neighborhoods," said Poizner. "I am here today to work directly with homeowners and all stakeholders to address these issues. I'm proud to say that through productive negotiations, we have already worked with the Fair Plan to make significant changes, based on feedback from wildfire survivors. I look forward to the progress we will continue to make together."

Poizner welcomed all stakeholders to attend the hearing for the purpose of gathering information and feedback from policyholders, insurance agents and brokers, consumer groups and Fair Plan representatives.

The Commissioner plans to use information gathered in the course of the hearing process to determine recommendations he may make to improve the availability of private homeowners insurance in wildfire areas, and how Fair Plan policies are assigned.

Poizner has been working with consumers through town hall meetings and hearings to assess concerns about Fair Plan policies. In working with the Fair Plan to highlight major concerns, the insurer has already submitted revisions to they way they write fire policies. Major proposed changes include an increased dollar amount of coverage available for building code upgrades. When fire victims rebuild homes, they must comply with up-to-date building code regulations. This can be costly, and the Fair Plan has agreed to increase the previous limit to reflect the high cost of upgrading older residences to meet modern building code standards.

Another change submitted as a result of Poizner's work is the creation of a separate policy limit for living expenses when policyholders lose their homes. Previously, living expenses incurred while a home was rebuilt would be deducted from the rebuilding limit of the policy. The Fair Plan is now working to create separate coverage limit for living expenses.

Poizner continues to work with Fair Plan and policyholders to address major concerns and make changes and improvements to the policies written by the Fair Plan.

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