Suzette Martinez Valladares | California Must Solve Insurance Crisis
4 mins read

Suzette Martinez Valladares | California Must Solve Insurance Crisis

I think we're all ready for spring. A season began with the joy and hope provided by Easter, and the rebirth of wild flowers, green hills and warm weather.

And who could forget that spring marks the beginning of baseball season. I was born and raised in this community and my first memory of sports is the Dodgers, and by the way, it's always fun to watch them win over the San Francisco Giants at the beginning of the season.

Like many of us, I love my community and appreciate all the great things it has to offer. However, what many of us struggle with, despite the tremendous positivity all around us, is the increasing expense burden placed on residents every year. This year we are starting to see the unfortunate notices we receive from our homeowner's insurance companies indicating that we will be dropped from coverage.

A few weeks ago, insurance giant State Farm announced it was eliminating 30,000 homeowner policies and not renewing 42,000 commercial apartment policies in California. Combine this announcement with rising double-digit premium increases, and we are all tightening our belts and gearing up for this reality.

They are not the first company to retreat or pull out of California.

This insurance crisis has been going on for years. California has an elected State Insurance Commissioner who is charged with running the state consumer protection agency for the nation's largest insurance marketplace. They are expected to protect all consumers in the state by properly regulating the insurance industry.

It is believed.

California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara has been widely criticized by consumers and insurance carriers for not acting sooner on this crisis. Governor Gavin Newsom also shares some of the blame for his lack of leadership and the veto pen.

As a member of the State Assembly, I introduced Assembly Bill 2450 in 2022, which would require the California Department of Insurance to evaluate meaningful ways to reduce fire insurance for home and property owners in high-wildfire risk areas. May need it.

Californians in areas affected by wildfires are struggling to afford or buy basic fire insurance due to skyrocketing premiums and non-renewals. I thought it would be wise to bring together all affected parties, led by consumers, insurance department staff, and insurance carrier representatives, to create an action plan to reduce wildfire-specific premiums and improve availability.

In the Santa Clarita Valley, we are all familiar with devastating wildfires and their impact on residents living in these high-risk areas. All of Santa Clarita is essentially a high-risk area. Even then we were warning that these rising insurance premiums were costing homeowners, commercial property owners, farmers and even renters.

This piece of legislation passed the state Assembly overwhelmingly in a bipartisan vote, 75-0. It then went to the state Senate and passed unanimously 40-0.

Despite widespread support, Governor Newsom vetoed the bill.

And like many other opportunities to address this issue before it reached crisis levels, there was a failure to act by the Governor and the State Insurance Commissioner. Now we all have to face the reality of what their inaction means for homeowners and renters.

I've talked to frustrated homeowners; My husband and I are included in that group. I have heard from local insurance agents and brokers who want to write and renew policies for clients, some of whom they have taken care of for decades. This is a bad situation for everyone.

How do we begin to solve this? I still believe that bringing together customers, agents and brokers, companies and regulators will yield the best solutions for everyone.

Ultimately, we need insurance companies to continue doing business in California, and to provide people with the coverage they need – and make sure to do it in an affordable and fair way for consumers who need protection and peace of mind. There is a need for peace.

Suzette Martínez Valladares is a former Santa Clarita Assemblywoman, wife, girl's mother, avid DIY'er and monthly contributor to The Signal's “Right, Hear Right Now,” which appears on Saturdays and rotates among local Republicans.

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