Wildfire Insurance Legislation Continues Forward Momentum

Brian German Agri-Business, Legislative

Wildfire insurance legislation is moving through the legislative process, taking another step toward Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk. Senate Bill 11 (SB-11) seeks to improve wildfire insurance coverage options for California farmers and ranchers. Introduced by Senator Susan Rubio, the bill is being sponsored by the California Farm Bureau Federation (CFBF). The legislation was recently approved by the Assembly Insurance Committee in a unanimous vote. Producers in Napa and Sonoma counties are particularly pleased with SB-11’s advancement, having encountered a series of challenges related to insurance coverage.

Wildfire Insurance - SB-11

“This is exciting news and the hard legislative work that the Farm Bureau has done on this issue is showing real results for our members right now,” Chief Executive Officer of the Napa County Farm Bureau, Ryan Klobas said in a news release. “A significant number of Napa County’s commercial farms and ranches have lost property insurance availability because of increased wildfire risks and our work on this legislation is a first step to correcting that problem and an avenue to begin to provide relief for our members. We’re hopeful this will reach Governor Newsom’s desk soon.”

CFBF has made wildfire insurance coverage a major priority after multiple years of record-setting fires in California. SB-11 would provide updates to the California Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) Plan to benefit farmers and ranchers. According to CFBF, the legislation would authorize the California FAIR Plan to expand coverage eligibility to agricultural infrastructure.

County Farm Bureaus have been orchestrating a series of roundtable events to make state officials acutely aware of the challenges farmers and ranchers are dealing with. Understanding the critical issue at hand, SB-11 has been endorsed by State Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. With the recent vote, the bill has moved to the full Assembly. Supporters of the wildfire insurance legislation are hopeful that the bill will continue its forward progress. The California Legislature will take its summer recess beginning on July 16.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West