Consumer Watchdog, wrote an open letter to Lara on Tuesday.
“As Insurance Commissioner, you have broad power that you are not using to prevent insurance companies from unfairly penalizing homeowners,” Consumer Watchdog Executive Director Carmen Balber wrote. “There is a way, now it is up to you to demonstrate the will.”
ABC10 asked Lara to respond to the letter Wednesday night, following a packed meeting he led at the Gold Country Fairgrounds in Auburn.
In the letter, Balber outlines three emergency rules she says Lara can issue now to protect homeowners.
She wants Lara to require each insurance company that does business in California to offer a discount to homeowners who make investments in hardening their home against wildfires – work like that which the Caseys did, clearing trees and bushes. She likens it to automobile insurance companies giving discounts to safe drivers.
Consumer Watchdog is also asking Lara to "bar the use of claims software that low-balls the cost of repair and reconstruction" and stop insurance companies from using any wildfire risk models “that lead to excessive or discriminatory rates,” citing the FireLine® score, which is now infamous to homeowners in fire-prone areas. Insurance companies use it to determine homeowners' fire risk and whether to sell them fire insurance.