Politico – Fire Fight

By Wes Venteicher, POLITICO


FIRE FIGHT: Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara’s main antagonist is out with a poll today throwing cold water on his plans to shore up the state’s crumbling wildfire insurance market.

Consumer Watchdog’s poll, taken last month of 639 likely California voters, finds 62 percent oppose the plan Lara announced in September to require insurers to cover more people in fire-prone areas in exchange for letting them use rate-setting models that will likely lead to higher premiums.

“It is clearly a warning to Lara and the Legislature that if they pursue this policy, it’s going to be wildly unpopular,” said Jamie Court, Consumer Watchdog’s president.

Lara’s spokesperson, Michael Soller, pointed out the plan has support from the California Farm Bureau, United Policyholders, the California Building Industry Association and other groups.

“Unlike Consumer Watchdog, Commissioner Lara and the Department of Insurance have actually met with 120,000 people over the last 4 years, all across California,” he said. “We are going to continue to take public input as we pursue much needed and long overdue reforms.” — DK

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