“Ultimately there are people living in high-risk zones who cannot afford to bear the full risk of the places they’ve chosen to live,” says R.J. Lehmann, an insurance policy expert at R Street Institute. “They didn’t have accurate information through market signals.”
“It’s unpopular when insurers either raise rates or don’t renew policies so [the insurance commissioner] follows those politics even if the market conditions or the environmental conditions would recommend otherwise,” Lehmann tells Reason.
“If you do want to continue to do business in California, but not in those areas, then the commissioner has a lot undefined authority to make it difficult to not renew policies,” says Lehmann.
“The fact that utilities end up eating the costs of wildfires, that has an effect on what the rates are for property insurance because property insurance has been able to discount that,” says Lehmann.
Lehmann suggests land use reform be coupled with changes to insurance regulations.