State expands funding for incentives to protect vulnerable homes and property from earthquakes
News: 2015 Press Release
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Governor Jerry Brown signed the 2015-2016 budget yesterday, which included $3 million in funding to expand the Earthquake Brace and Bolt (EBB) program and clarified that the program's grants are income-tax exempt at the state level. This expansion represents an important public investment in the protection of Californians from the dangers of earthquakes.
"Over a million homes in California should be retrofitted to better survive the next earthquake. As Insurance Commissioner, helping Californians prepare for earthquakes is a high priority and this new funding for the Earthquake Brace and Bolt program is an important step in the right direction to assist homeowners seismically retrofit their homes," said Commissioner Jones. "I would like to thank Assembly Member Adrin Nazarian, who chairs the Assembly Budget Subcommittee, for his tremendous leadership in placing funding for Earthquake Brace and Bolt in the budget and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León, and Governor Jerry Brown for maintaining this funding in the budget."
According to United States Geological Survey seismologists, many of the state's faults are overdue for an earthquake, and they predict that a major temblor is likely to strike California within the next 30 years, which could cause serious damage to millions of homes and residential structures. Recovery from a disaster of this magnitude will be even more costly, considering less than 12 percent of homes are protected with earthquake insurance.
The EBB pilot program launched in September 2013, and 650 homes in Alameda, Los Angeles and Napa counties are targeted for retrofits this year. However, there are approximately 1.2 million vulnerable homes in high risk earthquake zones throughout the state that are potentially EBB-eligible. The additional $3 million in this year's budget is a good next step in getting more homes retrofitted and protected from the devastating damage earthquakes cause, but more needs to be done to avoid potential harm to the state's economy and real estate market when the big one hits.
Preparing Californians for earthquakes continues to be a high priority for Commissioner Jones in his second term. Commissioner Jones proposed that the budget include funding for EBB and has sponsored legislation to help homeowners retrofit their homes.
"This is wonderful news for Californians," said California Earthquake Authority CEO Glenn Pomeroy. "There is a huge need to retrofit older homes, especially in high hazard areas. This action will boost our efforts to make financial assistance available to homeowners as we continue to grow the Earthquake Brace and Bolt program."
Earthquake Brace and Bolt is administered by the California Residential Mitigation Program-a joint powers authority of the California Earthquake Authority and the Governor's Office of Emergency Services.
Media Notes: On average, retrofits of EBB-eligible houses cost between $3,000 and $5,000. EBB provides grants of $3,000.
More than 100 additional zip codes in high risk areas will also be added to EBB.
The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $310 billion in premiums annually in California. Since 2011 the California Department of Insurance received more than 1,000,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $469 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance website at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.4357. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.