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1,700 Orinda Families Lose Their Fire Insurance

On March 20, State Farm announced that it would cancel 72,000 property insurance policies across the state because of high fire risk.  By March 25th homeowners in Orinda started receiving notices.  State Farm insures 3,115 homes in Orinda and is canceling 1,703 policies, one quarter of Orinda's homes.

The reason State Farm is canceling policies is that the state will not allow insurers to set rates based on models predicting risk.  Apparently, California is the only state that does not allow this rate setting mechanism.

However, State Farm did not cancel policy all across the state.  In Lafayette only 956 out of 3,142 policies were cancelled (30%).  In Moraga only 167 out of 1,438 policies were cancelled (12%).  In Danville only 200 out of 2,543 policies were cancelled (8%).  Why were 55% percent of Orinda's policies cancelled?  Because Orinda is considered very high risk.  Is it?  NO ONE KNOWS!!

Why not?  Because a proposal to measure the risk throughout Orinda, and periodically re-measure it, just like we survey the roads every two years, which was offered to the City in 2022, was rejected by the Council because the City Manager told them that the city had "other priorities".

Those priorities were to use the $600,000 that the proposal would cost mostly on roads and storm drains.  Now, those 1,703 homes that lost their insurance are looking at cost increases of $9,000 per home, and that is if they can find any insurance at all as the state's insurer of last resort, the FAIR plan, has an insurance cap of $3 million.  $9,000 for 1,700 homes totals $15 million which may have been avoided if we knew the fire risk in Orinda which we don't because the city wanted to save $600,000.

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