Insurance coverage will be available from February 1 for previously ineligible farm owners, wineries and other outdoor businesses
East County News Service
January 21, 2022 (Sacramento) – Acting to meet the growing needs of a competitive insurance market for farm owners, wineries, ranchers and other outdoor agricultural businesses, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara today approved the FAIR plan to offer new commercial cover for the agricultural risk structure from February 1, 2022. The FAIR Plan is an association bringing together all the insurance companies admitted to be the “insurer of last resort” for the state.
“Agriculture is essential to our continued economic recovery. That’s why, when industry leaders first shared their struggles with obtaining insurance coverage, we listened. We worked with Senator Rubio, legislative leaders and the Governor to pass SB 11 to help address these issues,” Commissioner Lara said. “The Ministry of Insurance is modifying the operation of the FAIR plan as part of a broader solution to help protect these businesses, especially those vulnerable to climate-intensified wildfires.”
Following Governor Gavin Newsom’s signing of Senate Bill 11 authored by Senator Susan Rubio, the state legislature and the California Department of Insurance urged the FAIR plan to act as quickly as possible. Not wanting to add to the delays of the FAIR plan, the ministry, in its approval letter, noted some additional commercial coverage issues in the package that the FAIR plan must resolve at a later date as the ministry reviews the package. of the FAIR plan’s commercial property insurance program months in advance to ensure it “really takes all comers”.
SB 11 was signed into law on July 23, 2021. It builds on Commissioner Lara’s efforts to provide Californians with greater insurance coverage, especially in high wildfire risk areas of the state. State.
In 2019, Commissioner Lara ordered the FAIR plan to begin offering more comprehensive coverage to homeowners, including extended coverage for liability, theft, contents and other parts of a traditional homeowner’s policy. . Last year, a judge upheld the commissioner’s power to order the FAIR plan to offer this new coverage extension. On November 19, 2021, Commissioner Lara amended the Plan of Operations for the FAIR Plan to increase her combined coverage limits, under her Division I Commercial Property Program, from $4.5 million to 8, $4 million and, under its Division II Business Owners Program, $3.6 million. at $7.2 million.
“Helping consumers affected by devastating wildfires has been my top priority as chair of the Senate Insurance Committee,” said Senator Susan Rubio, author of SB 11. implement the legislation I passed to protect California farmers and their workers.”
California farmers, ranchers and winemakers, among other agricultural businesses, live and work in more rural, outlying areas that can be particularly vulnerable to wildfires. Therefore, having more and better insurance coverage options is critical to the ability of these businesses to operate and thrive in their communities. Data from the Department of Insurance shows that some agricultural businesses have been left uncovered by insurance companies.
“This approval means California’s FAIR plan can do its job and add much-needed protection to farmers and ranchers whose insurance policies have been canceled or not renewed. Given the current wildfire challenges facing California, our farming community fears what could happen this year without this additional coverage,” said Jamie Johansson, president of the California Farm Bureau Federation. “We thank Commissioner Lara for supporting and accelerating this new coverage and Senator Rubio for championing this legislation to protect farmers and ranchers in California. We know we have a leader in Commissioner Lara to get things done, and we look forward to continuing to partner with him on long-term hedging solutions for the California farming community.