Trend of home insurers leaving states could impact WA

Homeowner insurance companies leaving states like California and Florida represent a troubling trend that could impact Washington.

David Fadduol, attorney with Ruiz and Smart in Seattle, said there’s anecdotal evidence that people aren’t seeing their policies renewed because of wildfire risk in parts of the state. But it’s unclear how widespread this issue is. Fadduol says the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner, or OIC, does not track nonrenewals in the state.

“Without knowing the extent of the problem, where the problem is and how it might affect us in the future if there was a wildfire, you can’t really determine what we should be doing about it, if anything at all,” Fadduol said.

Fadduol notes the OIC conducted a study on this in 2019 but hasn’t made that study public.

He added it’s unclear how insurance companies make underwriting decisions and whether they do it based on an entire community’s risk for disasters like wildfire or if it happens on a house-by-house basis.

“There’s a lot of things that folks can do to protect their homes against wildfires and an insurance company using those broad strokes isn’t taking those into account,” he explained.

Fadduol said there are steps state lawmakers can take to protect homeowners. For instance, California passed a law in 2021 that requires insurers to recognize and reward people who adopt fire safety measures. There are other steps they could take as well.

“The OIC could require insurance companies to disclose the basis for nonrenewals on a property-by-property basis and then it would be pretty easy to look at those properties and determine was this a legitimate reason to not renew this policy?” he said.

The 2024 legislative session is scheduled to begin on January 8th.

Yonlander Radio

Don't miss

Outdated Federal Safety Regulations Put Rural Americans At Risk During Tornado Outbreaks

Extreme weather battered parts of the Midwest over the...

Grizzly Bears to Return to Washington’s North Cascades

After years of debate, the federal government has decided...

Concerns Rise Over “Zombie Deer Disease” After Hunters Die from Neurological Disorders

Concern among sportsmen across the United States is growing...

Jon Foreman Raises A Glass To Human Connection With “I Propose A Toast”

Jon Foreman, the frontman of the Grammy Award-winning rock...
Eric Tegethoff
Eric Tegethoff
Eric Tegethoff is a journalist covering the Northwest. Eric has worked as a reporter for KBOO, XRAY FM, and Oregon Public Broadcasting in Portland, Oregon, as well as other print and digital news media.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here