By Evelyn Witterholt, RCS Reporter.
With California facing destructive forest fires for the past few years now, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara is teaming up with the state’s emergency response and readiness agencies to reduce the risk of wildfires and protect homes. One of the ways they are responding to the problem of wildfires is through their “Safer from Wildfires” plan, which includes setting new home insurance standards and prompting insurance companies to provide homeowners with incentives for protective measures like fire-resistant roofs.
One of the goals Commissioner Lara has for the state is to make insurance accessible and affordable for all California residents. On his website, he outlines the entire plan to protect homes from wildfires and prevent them from spreading. The three-layers of protection plan approaches the crisis from all angles:
1 – Protecting the structure: Insurance companies will offer discounts on necessary structural changes, including fire-resistant roofs and non-combustible space at the bottom of the home’s walls.
2 – Protecting immediate surroundings: New insurance standards call for the removal of debris and combustible structures near the home, such as sheds or outbuildings.
3 – Working together as a community: This standard recommends communities have a general plan if a wildfire were to occur near them. This plan includes an evacuation route, a risk assessment and implementing risk reduction goals.
Mark Ghilarducci, California’s director of the state's Office of Emergency Services believes the plan is necessary and crucial to protect their residents. “Those homeowners that actually take the time to become prepared by taking actions like these we’re discussing today are going to be more resilient and will be able to deal with the impacts of these kinds of disasters and of course recover more quickly,” he told KTLA.
Commissioner Lara has made a list of insurance companies offering these discounts available on his website. He hopes to see an expansion of efforts from the insurance market to make sure homeowners are safe from the spread of wildfires.
He told KTLA, “The framework will help me as a regulator of the nation’s largest insurance market to expand insurance incentives to homes and businesses and that will save money and encourage safety.”
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