The string of natural disasters that struck California in 2017 and 2018 resulted in new legislation expanding the rights of California policyholders. The California legislature has drafted and introduced new legislation that would continue to expand policyholders’ rights.
Pending legislation is summarized below. Although the legislation is not yet law, by gaining familiarity with the legislation now, you will be better equipped to immediately use the laws to insureds’ advantage. We will continue to keep you updated once the legislation is officially passed and becomes law.
- Senate Bill 240 – This law would require an insurer to establish a single point of contact for the insured and provide the insured with one or more direct means of communication with the single point of contact if, within a six-month period, the insurer assigns a third or subsequent adjuster to be primarily responsible for a claim. The law would also require the single point of contact to remain assigned to the insured’s claim until the insurer determines that the claim is closed. This bill has passed the Senate.
- Assembly Bill 188 – This law would require that when a building is a total loss and the policy requires an actual cash value payment, that the building’s valuation be based on the damaged building’s replacement cost less depreciation. This proposed legislation has passed the Assembly. Merlin Law Group attorney Derek Chaiken provided an analysis of this proposed legislation in a previous blog post, Potential Changes to California’s Insurance Code §2051 Impacts Total Loss Valuation on ACV Policies.
- Assembly Bill 740 – This law would establish the Climate Change Catastrophe Compensation Fund. The money for the Fund would come from California utilities and the initial proposed Fund amount is $5 billion. The purpose of the Fund would be to ensure that victims of wildfires caused by climate change are compensated in a timely manner, to provide reimbursements to insurers for a portion of those wildfire losses, and to avoid lengthy legal proceedings. The Fund would also have money available to policyholders that are underinsured. This bill is still in the Senate Insurance Committee.
- Assembly Bill 1813 – This law would require a notice of cancellation or a notice of nonrenewal of a property insurance policy to include a statement that the policyholder may have the department review the cancellation and would require those notices to include specified contact information for the department. This proposed legislation has passed the Assembly.
- Senate Bill 508 – This law would require an insurer provide all insureds under a tenant, renter, or condominium policy to provide a copy of the California Residential Property Insurance Bill of Rights to the named insured. This bill has already passed the Senate.