Sep 16, 2020
Companies reluctant to renew fire insurance for countless homeowners
This news has been received from: abc7news.com
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BEN LOMOND, Calif. (KGO) -- There's concern that homeowners throughout the Bay Area may have increasing difficulty finding a company willing to insure their homes. New laws are in place to protect homeowners, but are they working?
"Family," Denise Fritsch proclaims as she shows off a family photo she found at the home she grew up in more than 50 years ago.
The Ben Lomond resident evacuated to her mom's house after being chased out of her home by the CZU Complex Fire.
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She's much more relaxed after learning her home escaped any damage.
"So we know how lucky we are, but so many in our community and all up and down the state of California have been affected," Fritsch said.
Her insurer AAA informed her in July it would not be renewing her homeowner's policy because it determined she lived in a fire zone. On Aug. 5, State Farm offered her a policy, writing in an email, "You have two options of when you can start the policy."
After the fires broke out, State Farm had changed its mind, saying on Aug. 24, "Now with the fires, we are in what's called a moratorium, which means right now we are unable to write policies in certain zip codes and Ben Lomond is in that zip code."
RELATED: Here's how 'fire scores' can impact your homeowner's insurance
Fritsch said Amica also offered her a policy but withdrew the offer when the fire broke out. She feels let down.
"I'd like to see the State Insurance Commissioner, I'd like to see insurance companies. I'd like to see the governor's office, sit down and come up with a plan where everybody can succeed," she said.
Last month, insurance commission Ricardo Lara issued a notice reminding insurers a bill authored by him in 2018 and signed into law forbids the cancellation of policies within a year of a state of emergency.
Unfortunately for Fritsch, the Department of Insurance told her it doesn't apply to her because AAA sent its cancellation notice before the fires.
RELATED: How wildfire victims, evacuees can speed up fire insurance claims even without house damage
Carmen Balber is executive director of Consumer Watchdog.
"We think it's fundamentally unfair for insurance companies to only pick the most favored homeowners and leave everybody else out in the cold," Balber told 7 On Your Side.
AAA has now offered to sell her a policy that excludes fire Insurance. For that, she can go to the state's FAIR plan, which is much more expensive because it insures higher-risk homeowners.
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News Source: abc7news.com
New Spare The Air Alert Issued For Parts Of North And East Bay Saturday
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Officials with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District have issued a Spare the Air Alert for parts of the North and East Bay Saturday due to wildfire smoke.
According to a press release issued by the agency, northerly winds from a passing low-pressure system forecast for Saturday are expected to bring smoke from the from 800,000-acre plus August Complex burning in the northern part of the state into the North Bay, Eastern Contra Costa County and the Livermore Valley, causing unhealthy air quality.
Our weekend forecast: Spare the Air Alert! See updates at https://t.co/FsYJ5izH83. pic.twitter.com/SoSIh8hFd6
— Bay Area Air Quality (@AirDistrict) September 18, 2020
The coast, the Santa Clara Valley and the South Central Bay will not be as severely impacted, officials said.
ALSO READ: How To Find The Best Air Quality Index (AQI) On The Web
The alert means it will be illegal for Bay Area residents and businesses to use their fireplaces, wood stoves, pellet stoves, outdoor fire pits or any other wood-burning devices on Saturday.
After suffering through a record 30 straights days of Spare the Air alerts due to heavy smoke from wildfires burning around the Bay Area and beyond, the region has enjoyed much better quality air since Wednesday.Air Quality Resources:
- Bay Area Air Quality Management District
- BAAQMD Current Air Quality
- EPA AirNow
- Purple Air – Tracks particulate matter, sensors may register higher numbers than the air actual air quality.
“While the last two days brought a much-needed respite from the poor air quality the Bay Area has endured for the past month, air quality is again expected to be unhealthy due to continued impacts from wildfires,” said BAAQMD executive Jack Broadbent. “Residents should stay vigilant, track air quality conditions in their communities and head indoors if air pollution reaches unhealthy levels to protect their health.”
If possible, people living in the areas most heavily impacted by the poor air quality on Saturday should stay inside with windows and doors closed until smoke levels subside, if temperatures allow. It is also recommended that residents set air conditioning units and car vent systems to re-circulate to prevent outside air from moving inside.