New poll shows voters oppose insurance commissioner’s home insurance plan by 2 to 1; Huge backlash requiring insurers to cover everyone who saved their homes from fire, says Consumer Watchdog

THE ANGELS, November 16, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Insurance Commissioner Lara’s plan to allow insurance companies to raise premiums for all Californians in exchange for a promise to insure homeowners in areas at higher wildfire risk is opposed by a 2 margin, a new poll finds to 1, 62% against 30% in support. Only 9% of voters register as strong support.

In contrast, a plan to require insurance companies to cover all those who fireproof their homes has overwhelming support among voters, with 77% in favor and 15% opposed — with broad support across gender, party, age, income, type of residence and region. Legislation implementing the idea was introduced by Sen. Mike McGuire last year as Senate Bill 672, but was denied a hearing in the House Insurance Committee.

A large majority of voters also want insurance companies that refuse to sell homeowners and renters insurance to customers disqualified from selling auto insurance in California by a margin of 55% to 30%.

Read the survey results and crosstabs.

“The study shows that Commissioner Lara’s plan runs counter to the will of California voters,” said Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog, which paid for the study. “Voters clearly believe that the answer to the problems in the home insurance crisis is more regulation, not less. Voters overwhelmingly want insurers to be forced to cover those who fire-proof their homes. By listening to Californians, lawmakers can ensure that voters get the insurance coverage they need while reducing fire risk for everyone.”

Recently, 32 members of California’s congressional delegation also wrote to Lara criticizing his plan.

Although voters show strong support for a crackdown on insurance companies’ underwriting practices, only a third of voters identify access to homeowners and renters insurance as a serious problem. 62% of voters say it is only somewhat of a problem or not a problem at all.

The poll was conducted among 639 likely voters in November 2024 by FM3 Research, led by Paul Maslin and Rick Sklarz, from Oct. 26 to Oct. 30 for Consumer Watchdog.

Documents uncovered by Consumer Watchdog through a public records request also question whether any customers will gain more access to coverage under Lara’s plan. They reveal that the quid pro quo for allowing insurance companies to raise Californians’ rates — the insurance industry’s “commitment” to resume selling insurance — is full of loopholes.

Documents containing the commissioner’s plan show:

  • Insurers will be allowed to fulfill the only consumer benefit of the deal – their “commitment” to extend home insurance coverage in bushfire areas to 85% of their market share outside risk areas – by offering the same high cost, limited benefit coverage , which homeowners are already guaranteed access to in the FAIR plan today.
  • The Commissioner can waive the “85% undertaking” entirely for any insurer who simply claims that it cannot meet it.
  • The bill’s other provisions to facilitate unwarranted rate hikes mean consumers won’t be able to afford the policies insurers are willing to sell.

View the documents and read more about what they reveal about the commissioner’s deregulation deal with the insurance industry.

SOURCE Consumer Watchdog

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