The California Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) Plan is being adjusted to provide more adequate coverage for farmers and ranchers. California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara issued an order to increase insurance coverage limits under the California FAIR Plan. It marks the first time in 24 years that coverage limits have been raised. The action comes as a means for helping the agricultural community as it continues to struggle with issues of wildfire.
“With a tighter insurance market due to wildfire risks, many farmers and vintners need more coverage than they can currently get,” Commissioner Lara said in a press release. “I am taking aggressive action to protect our farmers, vintners, and other businesses immediately while local government, state government, insurers and businesses all work together to reduce the wildfire risk and increase a competitive insurance market.”
The action will expand the maximum California FAIR Plan policy limit from $4.5 million to $8.4 million. Commissioner Lara also noted that efforts will continue to require insurance companies to incorporate a landowner’s fire-prevention approach as part of their risk assessment. California Farm Bureau Federation has been working with the Department of Insurance over the past year to highlight the challenges facing the ag industry.
“There is no silver bullet to our fire insurance crisis, and the cost of these policies is still extremely high, but this is a major step forward,” said San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau Executive Director Brent Burchett. “We want to thank Commissioner Lara for all his work, and all our Farm Bureau members who pushed for these changes.”
Catastrophic wildfires over the past five years have created significant hurdles for farmers and ranchers. Along with suffering significant property losses, producers have been finding it increasingly difficult to acquire affordable insurance coverage for their operations. Bolstering the California FAIR Plan is one step towards creating a more reliable safety net for the industry.