Proposed California Wildfire Insurance Regulation Incentivizes Home Hardening
The regulation is expected to incentivize property owners to further harden their properties and communities resulting in reduced wildfire risk and saved lives.
A proposal from California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara could benefit home and business owners who protect structures from wildfire by providing more affordable insurance.
The proposed regulation, which was submitted to the California Office of Administrative Law in early September, requires insurers to provide premium discounts to customers undertaking mitigation measures to protect their structures from wildfire, including defensible space measures, community-level mitigation efforts, and building hardening measures. Building hardening measures include Class-A fire-rated roofs, enclosed eaves, fire-resistant vents, and multi-pane windows.
The regulation also requires insurance companies to provide customers with their property “risk score” and offer a means to appeal that score. The regulation incorporates Safer from Wildfires, an insurance framework through an interagency partnership that incorporates wildfire safety measures to help save lives and make homes and businesses more resilient.
The regulation, if approved, is expected to incentivize property owners to further harden their properties and communities resulting in reduced wildfire risk and saved lives. The regulation can be viewed here and the California Office of Administrative Law has until October 7, 2022, to approve or deny the proposed regulation.
The International Code Council works with governments at all levels to advocate for fire-resistant construction in communities at-risk for wildland fire. The Code Council promulgates the International Wildland-Urban Interface Code (IWUIC) which establishes requirements for land use and the built environment within designated Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) areas using prescriptive and performance provisions. In addition, is ICC 605, Standard for Residential Construction in Regions with Wildfire Hazard is currently under development. This standard will specify enhanced prescriptive methodologies of wildfire-resistant design and construction details for new and existing buildings and other structures of wood framed, steel framed, concrete, or masonry construction sited in wildfire hazard areas. The standard will provide prescriptive details for walls, floors, roofs, foundations, windows, doors, and other applicable components of construction and a methodology for the identification, assessment, and retrofit of existing residential dwellings to protect homes in wildfire hazard areas.