Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara to send notice to insurers regarding earthquake insurance misinformation
News: 2019 Press Release
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — The recent earthquakes that pummeled neighborhoods in Ridgecrest and Trona in Southern California have led to reports that some insurers and agents may be declining writing earthquake policies in various areas of the state. Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara and California Earthquake Authority (CEA) Chief Executive Officer Glenn Pomeroy jointly held a conference call to provide information and dispel confusion before the next big earthquake strikes.
Further, Commissioner Lara announced his intent to issue a notice to insurers to ensure that all agents and brokers selling earthquake insurance are following California law.
“Our first major earthquakes in years have Californians asking if earthquake insurance is right for them. I am concerned about reports that some insurers and agents are telling consumers there is a moratorium, when in fact you can buy earthquake insurance today,” said Commissioner Lara. “While we have Californians’ attention, insurers should not create barriers to homeowners or renters who want to protect their assets from earthquakes.”
“CEA policies can be purchased anywhere in California, at any time, and by anyone who has a home insurance policy with one of our participating insurers,” CEA CEO Glenn Pomeroy said. “However, for new policies purchased after an event, we do not provide coverage for the next 360 hours, or 15 days, for earthquakes that are seismically related to the initial event.”
Commissioner Lara announced that he will issue a notice to insurers advising them that refusing to write CEA earthquake insurance coverage for an existing residential policyholder is not in compliance with state law. Both Commissioner Lara and Mr. Pomeroy believe some insurers may be confusing the 15-day waiting period after a seismic event with an outright moratorium on the purchase of a CEA policy. The Department of Insurance and the CEA will continue to work together to make sure Californians are informed and prepared in the event of another major earthquake.
“If you do not have earthquake insurance, now is the time to look into getting it,” added Commissioner Lara. “A standard homeowners’ policy will not cover earthquake damage. Without specific earthquake coverage, you are responsible for all costs to repair, rebuild or replace your home and personal property.”
The Department of Insurance urges existing CEA customers with damage to begin the claims process by contacting their insurance company or agent. If consumers have questions or concerns about their claim or what their insurer is telling them, they should contact the Department’s Consumer Services Hotline at 800-927-4357.
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The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $371 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. Teletypewriter (TTY), please dial 800-482-4833.