State assembly approves bill to combat 'underinsurance' issues for wildfire victims

The Coffey Park neighborhood of Santa Rosa was devastated during last october's wildfires. 

The California State Assembly approved a bill Thursday to combat "underinsurance" issues revealed by the devastating 2017 wine country wildfires. The bill will move on to the governor's desk.

AB 1797, introduced by Assemblymember Marc Levine, would create a requirement for insurers writing residential property policies to conduct a replacement-cost estimate every other year.

"We heard from wildfire survivors about the devastating realization of being underinsured due to inaccurate or outdated replacement-cost models used by insurers," Levine said in a statement. After a fire, "Californians should not have to begin the recovery process underinsured," he said.

This is the third wildfire insurance bill introduced by Levine. AB 1799, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last month, will standardize information insurers are required to provide to fire victims after a loss.

And AB 1800, currently moving through the legislature, is designed to give wildfire victims more flexibility when working with insurers to rebuild on different lots or buy a home at a different location after a total loss.