Maurice Rey | A Fire Insurance Crisis

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor
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The following is a copy of a letter to the office of Assemblywoman Suzette Martinez Valladares:

Below are the details of our fire insurance situation. We are hopeful that anyone and everyone that reads this email will help our cause. 

Our community, Cimarron Oaks HOA in Castaic, has experienced massive cost increases in fire insurance over the past two years. Our rates have gone from $38,000 per year in 2020 to $430,000 per year in 2022. This is not sustainable for our community long-term. We recognize that California homeowners have seen insurance cost increases, but an increase of 1,000% is devastating. 

We believe the residents in our area are literally paying the price for mismanaged land in our state. Since we moved to Castaic in 2015, I have never once seen any forest service thinning or clearing brush in the hills that surround our town. I have never seen or heard of any back burn operations being scheduled. I’ve also asked residents who have lived here many more years and they tell me the same.

Last year I contacted (the assemblywoman’s) office for help. We were put in touch with her district director, completed an Authorization of Release of Information, filed a complaint with the Department of Insurance and unfortunately never heard back from (the assemblywoman’s) office. The only responses from the DOI were suggestions to look at non-admitted companies and consider the California Fair Plan. Both were done well before we got to this point. At the time, the Fair Plan had a maximum of $3 million. Initially one of our suggestions was to increase coverage amounts to the Fair Plan to include larger HOA’s. Another more long-term idea was creating a nonprofit fire insurance fund like the very successful State Comp Insurance Fund. At this point these solutions seem years away, and we’ve lost valuable time. I am hoping that something can be done on a more urgent/emergency timeline. Last week Florida passed a bill to help their rising homeowner insurance costs. They have different issues than us, but perhaps we could adapt their strategy to our state. 

According to Bloomberg, California has a $98 billion surplus. Using this to help residents with a problem we didn’t create seems like the fair thing to do.

Maurice Rey


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