Dave Jones, California Insurance Commissioner, has approved a set of rate changes that not only lowers homeowner premiums up to 16 percent across the state, but also drops rates an additional 5 percent in areas designated as ‘Firewise’ communities. Current Firewise areas include; Stones/Bengard, Lake Forest, Clear Creek, Susanville, Janesville, Day Lassen Bench, Lookout and the Lookout Ranchettes.
Spalding and Milford are in the process of gaining the Firewise status.
“The news is ground breaking with regard to the Insurance Commissioner and USAA Insurance company and the recognition they are providing with regard to rate reductions for those communities that are recognized as a Firewise Community,” explains Lassen County Fire Safe Council Education Coordinator Dan Douglas. “We feel that in the interest of competition that many more insurance companies will follow suit.”
This is fantastic news not only for those USAA customers in recognized Firewise sites in Lassen County, but for property owners throughout the state with serious wildfire risks. For the first time, a major insurer and an insurance regulator have agreed that wildfire mitigation for homes and communities is worthy of this kind of financial incentive.
According to Douglas one of the first questions most people ask the Lassen County Fire Safe Council when they learn about the Firewise Communities/USAA recognition program – or about the concept of Firewise safety action in general is, “Will I get a break on my insurance?”
Until this week the answer to that question was ‘No,’ with very few anecdotal, site-specific exceptions. Commissioner Jones announced the approval of the rate changes submitted by USAA that will provide anywhere from 12 to 16 percent savings on homeowner insurance premiums for the typical USAA customer in California and if that customer happens to live in a recognized Firewise community, they will enjoy an additional 5% break.
USAA, which provides a full range of financial products and services to the military community and their families, has been working with NFPA for several years pursuing the possibility of providing incentives for residents of wildfire-prone areas to take steps to create safer, more ‘fire-adapted’ communities.
For future information regarding this ground breaking news please visit our website www.lassenfiresafecouncil.org for updates as they occur regarding whether other insurance companies will join in.