Assemblymember Bloom Authors Bill to Expand Insurance Coverage for Wildfire Victims

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) introduced Assembly Bill 2436, which will help consumers, who have suffered a catastrophic loss of their home, cover the cost of required code upgrades by providing Building Code Upgrade coverage to homeowners who are rebuilding their homes.

Homeowners affected by the 2017, 2018, and 2019 catastrophic wildfires are in the midst of rebuilding their homes, but state and local authorities continue updating and adding building codes, which will apply to the rebuild and are unlikely to be covered by their insurer.  AB 2436 will help homeowners achieve compliance with building codes that are in effect at the time of rebuild, not at the time of loss.

“Consumers are often shocked to learn that their coverage won’t help pay for required building code upgrades, which leaves many unsuspecting homeowners forced to pay out-of-pocket costs to comply with newly-added codes or risk jeopardizing their rebuild altogether.  AB 2436 will ensure that individuals have adequate insurance coverage to address this aspect of the costly undertaking of a home rebuild after suffering a catastrophic loss,” Assemblymember Bloom explained.

Building codes are in place to protect public health, safety and general welfare as they relate to the construction and occupancy of building and structures. Although building codes may be changed or updated often, homeowners are not expected to update their property every time a new code is enacted; however, if the property needs to be rebuilt due to a disaster then it must meet the current codes in place at the time of the rebuild, which can be extremely costly.

AB 2436 is sponsored by California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, who noted, “When a catastrophic fire occurs and homeowners are trying to rebuild, we must ensure that homeowners are able to rebuild to stronger, up-to-date codes, including the sprinklers and solar panels that enhance climate resilience in California. Compliance with code upgrades should be part of an insurance policy and not an out-of-pocket expense for a homeowner dealing with the aftermath of a disaster.”

Richard Bloom represents California’s 50th Assembly District, which comprises the communities of Agoura Hills, Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Hollywood, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, Topanga, West Hollywood, and West Los Angeles.