In the Friday, April 19 edition, Piper McDaniel described the homeowner’s fire insurance dilemma facing many Northern Californians. McDaniel explains companies are not allowing policy renewals as they are now declaring vast areas as wildfire areas. The majority of these properties were not listed or treated as such prior to today. To retirees, their property represents life times of responsible hard work and their legacies to their heirs. Like anyone else, most would never buy property designated as flood zone property just as they would not have purchased properties responsibly identified as being in wildfire areas and subject to unaffordable insurance costs.
It seems honest disclosures about fire hazards were withheld by those standing to profit in some way from the real estate transactions and taxes they generate. Many owners have occupied their properties for decades, all the while paying normal and reasonable rates for fire insurance. What’s happened is equivalent to having sold property in a known flood zone without it being disclosed up front, and years later springing the news on the buyer, now with no way out; stuck with property rendered nearly worthless because it can’t be affordably insured. It’s not simply a choice between moving or staying and possibly watching the fruits of a person’s life work go up in smoke, it’s a financial tragedy either way. With natural catastrophes including wildfires increasingly occurring across our nation, it’s time we consider a regulated not-for-profit national government insurance alternative to private insurance.
— John Archibald, Oroville