20200908 Ricardo Lara town hall
4:23AM Sep 9, 2020
additional living expenses
Even questions about insurance and all of that. I just, I want you to feel free to speak for a significant amount of time really providing the latest information, and then we'll make sure that we do get some time for questions from the community. If you'd like to participate in questions, you can press star for one star for one, we'll put you into the queue, in tonight's Town Hall as all of our town halls is being recorded. So if you aren't unnamed, if you knew somebody that was unable to attend, or if there would be such valuable information from the commissioner that you'd like to get more, feel free to just email myself or, you know, supervisor community. We'll get you a copy of the recording after this. And so as a brief introduction to our insurance commissioner, he's the eighth elected Insurance Commissioner in the state of California. He's also the leader, the nation's largest state consumer protection agency. And he has a very significant charge and that's what protecting California consumers so as you can imagine, during the pandemic, he's been busier than In fact, immediately after the Shelter in Place Order ticker fade effect in the state. He had a place for a couple of orders that many of us have benefited from including ordering insurance companies were sure to return a percentage of premiums, businesses and drivers that were affected by the pandemic, and also requiring companies to comply with their contracts in California law dealing with business interruption claims caused by covid 19. And most recently, he has been actively involved in protecting consumers regarding and homeowners regarding buyers. Previously, he was both in state Assemblymember and a state senator, which is why I believe he has constituents best interests at heart and his willingness to participate in this town hall tonight is greatly appreciated. So, Commissioner Laura, I'll turn it over to you. Thank you for joining us. Thank you. Thank you, supervisor friend and me for having me this evening. It's great to once again get to speak to our constituents in Santa Cruz County. You know, I'm happy to join you all. Thank you. an update on the work that we've been doing on behalf of the residents again and businesses of Santa Cruz County and my heart goes out to all the families that are still displaced and now are trying to put things together often. Richard sire will continue to also address the unprecedented common 19 pandemic, you know, with hundreds of fires still burning across the state, including, you know, the war you mentioned in Santa Cruz County that used to be in the control but, you know, thousands of people being evacuated from their homes and even your alma mater, UC Santa Cruz, it's more, it's once more now more than ever that you will have the information and the resources that you really need. Our department on the ground today.
Right there in Santa Cruz and in Monterey County providing in person advice and information to help well, wildfire survivors. Bye And they're in with their insurance recovery and answer any other questions regarding, you know, fire insurance, availability, affordability, and ensure that we continue to try to figure out all this together. You know, again, entrepreneur climate change has really gone up to this point. In some areas, access is limited, so we don't have yet a full picture of what the insurance losses are going to be. We have heard that some people were evacuated are losing access to their insurance benefits that pay for a hotel or other emergency expenses after just two weeks, even when they're home. They're still difficult to leech or uninhabitable due to loss of water or power. We're also hearing questions on how to receive advance payments that I requested the shell company to provide on August 25. I believe it was such as 25% content advance And four months of additional living expenses, which we call ARV and event in cases of total loss. So we can help people with some immediate need, as we work to figure out, you know what happens next. And there's a general confusion about what insurance covers right. How to access your policy benefits. Work with your with your adjuster. We're hearing a lot of these questions. The issue of people being cut off of additional living expenses, while their homes are still uninhabitable seems to be an ongoing thing. And you know, I think that is something that is continuing continuously since the campfire actually, when residents of Paradise were unable to move back into their homes because of water mains active damage, by heat of the fire, but people have to pay out of pocket emergency costs. That is not fair. And so it's something that we are we're addressing in our classes. We can take action to urge insurance companies to extend additional living expenses and benefits to people who are in the situation with this year sponsored legislation to make this change permanent so that people can get an additional living expenses, the bill is headed to the governor's desk and, you know, hopefully we could get a signature so that we can give people additional water trying to, you know, make ends meet Jim physical time, the department I was very happy and to get the most out of your insurance benefits. Our job. I'm proud to say that from 2017 and 2018 wildfires, the Department of Insurance intervention was able to recover more than 200 and $40 million for wildfire claiming and of course, we're still dealing with the pandemic which has turned our lives upside down, especially for our business. Foreigners, in particularly, I know supervisor, you've been there many times in Santa Cruz and I can, you know, leave out and call out my, my, my favorite pizza place pizza my heart which I call upon. And every time I'm there, you know my priorities pandemic really has to have started as a way for us to really how do we get money back to consumers and businesses? How do we help small businesses to file insurance claims and combat fraud? And ultimately, how do we protect the health of California. So I have taken more than 20 separate actions to help consumers and businesses. And I want to mention five of those in particular, which I think are very timely, I ordered partial premium, as you said, supervised refund, premium returns for moderate and small businesses, due to the lower the workplace and on the on the road. Perfect and even today, which has resulted in $1.2 billion in relief so far to our California consumers. I've also directed health insurance companies to provide zero cost sharing on consumers for COVID-19 screening and testing. Additionally, my actions extended
deadline for consumers to ensure that they don't move or limit or waiver policy benefits as a result of the current national state of emergency. And I've also asked companies to extend grace period. So consumers affected by COVID-19 and more time to pay the premium. This is not the time to disenroll people because they cannot pay given the fact that we have told people to stay home, businesses have shut down and many people have lost their jobs. The last thing I want is for people to you know, loser, loser coverage during the pandemic until we win We asked our insurance company to extend God's grace period for consumers. And I'm proud to say that many of them have done so. We've also forced insurance companies to expand access to telehealth so consumers have access to medically necessary health care while keeping them and our health care provider space. You can see a full list of what we've done on our website, and insurance that VA dot govt and again, if you have any questions on any of these, and directives, please feel free to give us a call. We have a lot of work to do the system. And then workers and we continue to try to cope with the wildfire pandemic, the future of our economy, and of course, our sleeves making sure that we keep our families safe in time. I'm really looking forward to answering some of your questions. And again, thank you, the committee for allowing you to argue with you tonight. Thank you, Commissioner for that question. Overview and I and again star pour one. If you'd like to join in the queue for questions, I do know that supervisor community has a couple just to kick it off. So the supervisor community, I'm going to hand it over to you for a few questions. Sure. Thank you for your work promote during COVID and buyers, corner car insurance, and thank you for the shout out to bookshop appreciate that MP smart. Question. One question I have is as people begin to navigate this process, it often feels like they're outgunned. Bigger, a lot bigger companies a lot more resources. What's a resource? Rich people start if they feel like they're not getting the benefits, which they're entitled to take a quick question, you know, our homepage on our website at insurance LTA that you'll be, we have a button that is called insurance resources for wartime survivors. There you will find critical resources including our top 10 tips for payment in both English and Spanish. I'd like to briefly go through some of those. And I urge you all to look at the folders on our website. The number one thing is obtain a complete copy of your residential homeowners insurance policy as quickly as possible. And that has to include your declarations page, you have to take note of your additional living expenses and manage your early expenses. In recognition of a long rebuilding process. You have to track all your additional expenses that may arise from having to live in another location away from your home. And you have to document all of your conversations with your insurer. With your adjuster about your claim and policy invitation. In a dedicated claim diary, you want to make sure you are documented documenting absolutely everything and then get one licensed contractors off the neck or they're on the country, build your home, just to get a reasonable sense on the actual cost of compared to your coverage limit. And check the website for the California contractor's licensing board and make sure that is a person that's licensed. And that can give you the, you know, a proper estimate. I will urge you all as well. The color department insurance helpline is 1-800-927-4357. That's one 802 74357. You can also file a complaint on our website if you're not getting the information that you want from your insurance company. If I understand you, you can purchase or retailed on another location.
You have all these rights and I'm still the only contributor. Including the building code upgrades and extended replacement cost benefit. If you were a bit worried in your policy and starting to rebuild an uninsured dwelling, again, I know that I'm throwing a lot of things at the wall right now and some of you are struggling. Fire supplies are what you put your time. The first thing is establish yourself somewhere where you're getting your additional living expenses. And
and then also just make sure that you've published our first and then the call, we can help walk you through these individual individual people need to do and a time while you're settled, and we can make the decision for you. But the important thing I will say is establish yourself, your additional living expenses and startups. Many everything. We are here to help you you give us a call at 1-800-927-4357. And you can contact us also on our website and ensuring that God thanks. Thank you, Commissioner, I appreciate your work. Look forward to hearing the question from the audience. Thank you sue Roger curry again star for one. I will open it up to our first questioner and I do know that I also received a couple of emails that I'll go ahead and add in here in a second but star four One, you'll hear that you've been unmuted or unsilent and there's no way for us to tip you off in advance of that. So if you could just listen on your phone for when you've been unmuted or on silence will move on to the first question replace
it. Thank you so much for providing this information night. My name is Christian Nielsen. I'm an architect. And I'm currently right now helping people kind of go through this process. And one of the first question, I actually have two questions, but I'll ask the first one first and then the second one.
Is there any
particular insurance to provide money for construction structures that are meant for temporary or transitional housing? on the property? For sure, go ahead and ask the second one as well, while you're at it, that'd be helpful. Okay. So then the second one, moving forward. If you have any insight in terms of how insurance premiums may change, with more Fire, fire resistant resistant construction techniques and cereals. Yeah, you know, that's a great question. On the premium side, you know, we, we still don't know what the impact is gonna be actually stars in terms of what appears under cleric as well as even under with COVID-19. And how it's going to impact the overall insurance market in the space. It's still too early to see. But what we are looking at is we're starting to see, and even in Santa Cruz County and in Monterey County, a lack of availability of insurance. And so what we've been moving towards in terms of this discussion is how do we continue to work with our local government to bring down the style. So which that means is working with as far as the Council on how do we bring down? How do we harden home? At the personal level? How do we create a defensible space at the community level, understanding that other communities are very different be slow to load, and so on. But it's how do we as a state now then provide with minimum mediation and resiliency candles at a community level. So that will bring down the entire risk for the entire community, not just individuals parcel. So we continue to get and keep the ship insurance industry in the Pacific community. Right now, unfortunately, we've been seeing as insurance industry, Sony wants you to keep paying higher premiums, but without any benefits for the consumer. And so we can support that we want. We want to move towards making sure that with a neighbor and a community has done all the appropriate mitigation to bring down the cost
discussion space, then we're going to mandate an insurance company write you a policy so Both of these that we're working on, which again creates an incentive for the business or the business owner or the homeowner to do what's right in terms of harming their home, but also get something for that, as opposed to what's happening now, which is people are being asked to do different types of homework and resiliency and building a defensible space. But yet people are still being dropped from the policy. And so we don't think that's fair. On your second question, I have joined the rally on my team who works on of issues. I don't mind answering the question for the gentlemen please. Yes, Commissioner, with regard to whether you could build a temporary structure on the last property not only on your lot prior to rebuilding your primary structure, your insurance structure that you know, it's kind of outside of the box. So what I would say is, if you if you try to build a temporary structure on your property, it most likely wouldn't be something that covers that would be under your building coverage, your property coverage, it would be something that might come under your additional living expense coverage. It is a unique request. We have had someone with a similar request that some companies have gone along with, for example, some insurance have purchased a an RV to place on the property and bought, you know, negotiating with the insurance company in a way that, hey, if I get this RV in the long run insurance company, you'll be paying less because you're not going to be paying for two years or three years. Under the current laws or additional living expenses, you'll actually save money and you go straight with the company to see if they're willing to pay that money upfront. for someone to purchase, let's say a recreational vehicle to be able to live in on a temporary basis. But don't A new, a new structure from scratch for that purpose is a little unique. So while the law wouldn't require it, and the policy may not require it, it's certainly worth any insured, coming up with some of these ideas that they feel that they have they're most comfortable with and approaching their insurance company and their adjuster and making that request. Thank you, Tony for stepping in. I was a Christian, those were absolutely great questions and I appreciate your work and helping out people that have had the suffered these total losses. So anything obviously that supervisor couldn't hear I can do on the planning side to help you out. Please do reach out for that. Now to follow up on some of the points you're raising Commissioner regarding those that are doing everything right, that are harming their homes, defensible space firing, following a state mandates, 100 feet, minimum and on and on that are still getting robbed. We're Seeing that in both of our districts, beyond obviously doing those things, what advice would you give to those individuals they have tried on the legislative side to get some some help and haven't had a whole lot of help on that side, which is outside of your purview. But beyond that, any advocacy or any direct things that you think that we could help them with or that you would recommend if you were in the exact same situation that you would personally take for your home? What advice would you provide to those constituents? Well, and you know, we also recognize that inability to obtain insurance is really causing a domino effect that is harming California communities twice. Firstly, the wildfire then by insurance companies dropping residents and businesses. You know, I've talked to many local fire chiefs all agree that again, bringing down that risk of wildfire should be the number one priority in order to reduce losses and we wait No doubt and then stabilize the country. And that's going to be a continued focus. And so, you know, what we what we are continuing to look at is how that, how do we identify with socialism as a local leader, what we're also seeing as people have all the greatest great intentions to harden their home, but yet, you know, these are difficult times and so many people cannot afford to upgrade, many our people are retired. And, you know, don't need that, you know, either need that tax break, or need
a notre giveness program, something creative, so that we can help incentivize them to do it. And then we often have, you know, our community are older, our seniors who can actually do cannot do the actual upgrade themselves. So that also puts an additional burden. So I think we as a state, and local electors have to be creative on how do we come up with a funding mechanism that is appropriate to the economic level and the level of our residents. So that, again, we're assisting them on doing the right thing at the end of the day. And we also need with whichever I hear often, you know, only empower local governments to do a better job of, you know, some one neighbor does absolutely everything to keep their home, fire safe. And then a neighbor, neighbor might not have done anything. And so then that's what's imperil all the work that amigo has done. And so, telecommunication, we need to empower our elected to have more authority when it comes to making sure that neighbors are abiding by these rules and that we're also doing a much better job of incentivizing this by creating statewide mitigation plan. words that are going to be clear for everyone that are going to be dining space and allow our local elected to have some something that we can measure again, as opposed to what we have now, which is kind of a hodgepodge of different rules and different efforts going on throughout the entire state, which we know that only hurts our efforts to lay down the fire risk and bring down by and that only perpetuates the availability and affordability of insurance in these communities. Again, Star four one if you'd like to join in, I know supervisor query has an additional question. I know that we have some people in the queue and I also know that I've received some emails from people that maybe didn't feel comfortable asking questions in public at all. And in fact, the supervisor can read your question and we will move on to the next caller.
Lot of small businesses who thought they had business interruption insurance Just the type of situation endemic we faced in the shutdowns and the harm that was caused. They found that endemic is not covered under anything any thought. Although we're still far from outside of out of this crisis, about what we can do for the next pandemic or next large scale business interruption, then they may come our way. Thank you supervisor. That's a great question and one that we have been working with and adhering to the entire state. Now, the fact that my department has received a number of complaints regarding claims for business interruption insurance related to the COVID-19 closures, and as you said, many businesses are looking for possible coverage and attempting here as well. The reality is that each policy is a legal contract between the business owner and the insurance company and completely margin. We have Dozens of lawsuits around the country, including here in California, which concern the interpretation of these policies, and whether these policies cover losses due to COVID-19. I can tell you that, you know, we're monitoring cases, as we move through the courts, perhaps several significant steps to address business interruption within our department. You know, we have been learning that some insurance companies are denying business interruption claims without even a thorough investigation, or even discouraging business owners from even filing a claim. And that's typically an acceptable response to numerous complaints from businesses
and other stakeholders. I require insurance companies to comply with the contract and carefully investigating every single business interruption claim caused by COVID-19 just as we would any other disaster. So my department will be watching from Ensure that they do so ensure that everyone is getting a fair claim. Obviously, that's what makes it a little difficult as well, but not all the policies of the state. So we will need to look at the specific policy to better understand what coverages and when exclusion. A policyholder has the completeness has business interruption coverage restoration company telling them that these losses are not covered into the agency policy. We recommend that you file a formal claim with your insurance company and start creating an important paper trail. Just as I mentioned that in terms of our fire survivors, insurance companies are legally required to investigate a claim and formally respond back with their covered supervision and the reason for any denials that they make. And why is that important? Because we need to get that letter of denial. Then we can come in as the department will look in detail at that letter. Look at policy and see if there's anything in that language that we can get you some money from. And we've been able to do that for some businesses, but you need to start up a culture with the insurance company. You know, it's a little more complicated than that. And I know many commercial policies and exclusions do a lot with the contamination by virus and similar perils, that you know, many policies also require that a lot, because I have direct physical damage. And that's the point of contention, you know, or a lot of the property that results in a car, that car covered by the policy, for example. So these conditions and vision to create hurdles in obtaining coverage. However, again, like I said, we want to see your entire policy, as one of the circumstances applicable to the last event to know what conditions or exclusions may or may not exist in a particular business. So on Again, just to reiterate, if a patient has not found the form of pain, you should do so immediately if the patient has filed a claim, and that's the claim, and the claim has been denied, we recommend that you file all the coursework in my department, and you could do so by calling 1-800-927-4357. Or through our website at insurance that way that Govt. And, you know, again, while it's true that many commercial policies have provisions that have coverage for business interruption, under under the circumstances, our department will review the claim to show that ensure properly investigating your claim, and following all the law at that and the provision in your contract. And so we have had some success in getting the nicest interruption claim and event cancellation claims paid. So what are you contacting for let's take a look at your policy. So again, follow train with your company with your share company, startup process. And then let's take a look at it. Give us a call at one 809 2743 session. He was actually very useful answer actually had received another email for business one because the exact same thing what we've done on this townhall again starcore one if you want to join in the queue, we're going to move on to the next caller you'll hear that you've been unmuted or unsilent so please listen for that. The next person
Hello, this is Maria getting Tory, supervisor friends district I'm really appreciative of setting this up and Thank you Commissioner Lara. I have two questions and I will follow the example of answering them, asking them boats and whether you respond and number one is the finish. What? Why do we have to get California Earthquake authority insurance through a commercial company? Get it from the state? And that's question number one. And number two, is there a nonprofit or non crucial website, where we can compare the cost and values of various homeowners policy. I live in Viana woods, which is surrounded on three sides by a state park. All of our neighbors have hardened by properties insofar as we can. Considering that we live in the middle of a redwood forest. There are several thousand people who live here. And many of us have been canceled, including my husband myself, who are using our insurance in 30 days. Thank you. Thank you for your question. You know, I also want the second one from our office. Answer the first one on the third authority We in the department, we do have a tool, insurance finder tool that can help you compare and that you know, writing different policies within your area community. And it also has a list of insurance companies that can help you shop around. I can tell you that is critical for folks to continue to shop around, and to be able to, you know, see who else is running in the communities so that you can compare and contrast the different policies. It's also critical to understand that, if no one willing to write you a policy, we have the California fare plan, which is our insurer of last resort. And essentially, it is backed by the insurance companies, not by taxpayers. They will write you a fire insurance, even if no one else will, but your coverage is for fire. In a few other perils only, it is not a comprehensive as a full homeowner's policy, which is also which also has liability, death and other important coverages. To get into additional coverages, you have to buy additional wraparound coverage from an insurance company an additional cost that is called the difference of condition or a gic policy. You know, from our experience having to buy two policies without in the consumer paying to administrative fees, which are expensive attitude premium instead of one. I think that is completely unacceptable and unfair. For this reason, I actually ordered the fare plan to offer an optional homeowners policy so that you don't have to purchase a policy, which we believe is more expensive. My order doesn't stop insurance companies from offering VIP policy and you should be able to buy a basic step one and making it you want But I wanted to continue to have another option. I also directed a third plan to modernize the plumbing policy which had not been changed in decades to allow for monthly payment payments or credit cards and increase the coverage limit from two from 3 million up
to 3 million I should say up from 1.5 million last month that's fair temps started offering time limits and will soon be offering a monthly payment plan and no payments or credit card which means Welcome to the modern age. However the birth plan has to the department to block my order. That that it add a homeowner of homeowners policy, that litigation is still ongoing. So I can't comment further on that for a while but there have been a tremendous increase in business General, many insurers not renewing policy. In a fire prone areas like yours are still only available. They told me right after seven japoneses statewide so I don't see any issues with being able to handle the new business by Chinese. And can you talk to the daily campaign? To learn more about the performance, you can go to their website gerawan website, I'm sure that you can catch up. And you will find the top 10 tips for finding residential insurance. Well, that can also be helpful in addition to our insurance finder tool. And again, we are pushing the fare plan to provide a comprehensive plan as an option so that consumers don't have to pay twice the administrator fees. And we think it's fair and about time that they modernize. So those are some thoughts on the second question. Tony, can you chime in on that on the first question, becoming the CA? Yes. Can you share with regard to earthquake insurance give you a little quick history after the Northridge earthquake Many insurance companies didn't want to write earthquake insurance in the state of California, which created a availability issue. So a legislature created the California Earthquake authority. So now even though you may purchase your your earthquake coverage, along with your homeowners coverage through one of the traditional commercial insurance companies, there's a very good chance that that a better quick policy is backed by the California Earthquake authority. And so it's it falls under the purview of having the nail standardized coverages as well as it's looked at for its rating structure to make sure that it's not overpriced based on, you know, the risks of the modeling. But it's not a state run per se insurance program. It's sold by the traditional insurance company, but it's backed by the California Earthquake authority, which is a creation of the legislature to ensure that can afford And available throughout the state. If you have further questions on that specific to your particular situation, please give us a call at our toll free number again 800-927-4357. Returning Commissioner, thank you for that. Great, great set of questions. So I'll just read one that I've received the email Commissioner for you, which was after the passage of the Affordable Care Act. We're finally seeing a level of the cost of health care. Do you see the cost of Cobra treatment and tariffs impacting rates in the coming year? Great question. You know, COVID-19 is causing a lot of uncertainty and we don't know yet what's going to happen for employers. actuaries for health insurers are currently developing their assumptions regarding impact for the 2021 rates, and will likely try some models to reflect that uncertainty. One thing is that we don't anticipate any Unexpected windfall in terms of which is claimed over the long term as a result of COVID-19. And yes, there's a substantial decrease in necessary on electric electric features, such as heart surgery and cancer surgery during the pandemic, in part and response to the need to procure hospital researchers on developing capacity to achievement of complementary patient. As a consequence, hospitals are experiencing of substantial decrease in revenue, many of these procedures may be preferred to a later time. So painful procedures may come in a ways later also, because of the delay unnecessary and elective surgery, unfortunately, mobility is expected to increase. This is something that we have seen with our for example are immigrants are vulnerable communities who are putting off care
And can lead to tragic results. Patients who do eventually care may be sicker with, for example, percent for example, more advanced cancer, so this will probably result in greater, more expensive claims in the future. Because of job losses in COVID-19. We expect to see more shifts from employer based coverage to Cobra or the individual market. I'm happy to see an article for California declaration for a special enrollment period to facilitate the ability of California to have lost their job to run the individual coverage. Through Covered California. We have seen more than roughly 270,000 consumers who have signed up for coverage to cover California to get non special enrollment period in response to covid 19 pandemic. In response to the wildfires, California opened another special mineral period to help wildfire survivors to date. So, depending on your income they, you know, they may take some people may see substantial facilities to make healthcare more affordable than typical time. It's also important for Californians to remember that their income, their income is substantially reduce, because of, you know, job loss me qualify for more coverage. So, I'll quickly go through what my department has some of the steps we've taken in terms to address health care. So consumers, one of my first action in response to the crisis was to eliminate caution for COVID-19. Governor Gavin Newsom, the night director of insurance companies to eliminate co pays deductibles and other costs related to screening and testing for COVID-19. As we expand the testing and, you know, get people back to work, that will be increasingly important just a couple of weeks ago. To the wildfire emergencies mail order prescription john Wait, I directed health insurance company to submit emergency plans to the department how they will ensure continued access to needed Medicare, medical care and prescription medication. For those covered under Governor Gavin Newsom welcome extreme weather state of emergency declaration. With widespread reports of US Postal Service cost effective consumer they issue a motorist reminding insurance company that their obligation under California law to maintain access to prescription drugs. I also directed health insurance companies to increase telehealth across consumers as I mentioned before, health insurance companies must continue to provide access to medically necessary care and California policyholders should be able to act as medically necessary after without physically visiting the provider. In person, when, when clinically appropriate, of course, is going to be here to stay, it's going to be a good thing for employers and workers alike. And telehealth can keep
workers and patients, you know, there's a lot there to pay attention to health care. But again, we're monitoring want to make sure we remain, we keep true to our access, we make sure that COVID-19 doesn't create an added burden on policy and premium. And we're gonna get to see how the overall pandemic is going to impact premium for both businesses and for for our consumers alike. Thank you for that question. Thank you for that answer was very helpful. And I know that we still have a couple more people to leave last 10 minutes or so that we have so we'll move on to the next person in the queue again, you'll hear that you've been either on silence or unmuted, please listen for that.
Yes, hi there,
Mark of the house in Boulder Creek and question our interest company,
for a minimum minimize what they pay out.
Our question is how can we maximize
the insurance to rebuild,
including how to maximize?
like blowing expansion?
is one question
and then cause an increase in demand for rebuilding. How can we get the contractors and they don't overcharge?
So first on rebuilding, you know, the law provides that we can choose to buy or rebuild our home location and so collect your phone, on your policy including any additional coverage. Provided by extended replacement cost or building code upgrades. If you have to. If you have those coverages on your policy, the Federal settlement amount will be based on actual cost to rebuild another home, you have in the current location, and it's subject to your partner. Again, if you don't spend your whole image whenever you decide to repeat your home, your share can choose some entertainment for you actually, I would say that the crux of the question is how do we maximize your claim payout is you have to be vigilant, you have to not want to kill the first you know, estimate you get you need to become an advocate for yourself. And unfortunately, you are going to become an insurance expert because I want you to question every single thing. That player what insurance companies are selling you Again, we can help people crop up by making sure that you fully understand your policy, fully understand your replacement value. And we are here to be your advocate on your site and the entire steps as you are continuing to be built, or whatever it is you decide to do for you and your family. So I want you to make sure like I said earlier, if we get everything in writing, we get them, you know, whatever, quote, you get, whatever. If you're working with an attorney, make sure you keep a log of all the things that you are asking for and retain the paperwork, all that can be critical, so that we review your case, and we make sure that you're getting absolutely everything as detailed in your policy. Tommy, do you have any other recommendation
on terms of the focus question
but yeah, she's you've pretty much said it because you're not you know, please contact us we can walk you through your policy understand all your different limits. So what you want to do is get with your adjuster have been spell out your your primary dwelling limit your other structures, limit your contents, personal property, all your landscaping minutes and all the kind of debris removal limit, all those things are going to be adding up to what your what your total amount is and you may have available to rebuild. And that may include your extended replacement cost coverage, should you reach your, your, your traditional policy, women on your structure. Those are all things that you need to know up front. So you should get your policy get your declaration page, asking your adjuster to spell it out for you. If they if you run into a roadblock there delay you're not comfortable with what they're telling you come to us. We can look at your policy your declaration page, in run through that when you leave To the main search, part of your question, you know where you don't want to get over, paid more than what is traditionally work, get a couple of estimates, as soon as you can from cons from licensed contractors. And then as you get closer to being able to rebuild, you know, recheck those numbers. There are some anti gouging laws now locally and in the state. But those, those may not be at the limit of gouging, so to speak, so it could just be something there will be demand serves depending on how many contractors are available in your area to the build. Hopefully you have a sense of replacement costs but not maximize know all of your limits and get upfront what your estimate to rebuild is from a licensed contractor. So you absolutely know where you stand on them so you can make an informed decision. You may decide even, I may want to go buy in another location. If you don't feel you can rebuild completely With all the coverages available to you, you know on your on your lawn and it also just also say that and put up a united policyholders which is a nonprofit made up of several Californians who have lost their homes while and now have created with great nonprofit that how, you know, also homeowners that are just going to Russia. These are souls that have experienced exactly what you have gone through and have also created different techniques and tools that can help you and really understand the place that you're at now. And, you know, can help you to their own experience their website up help up Health Index united policyholders. They are a great nonprofits that really have missed that experience and can help You also prevent, you know, a lot of needless work of cannot reinvent the wheel and have really good techniques and strategies for you as you begin with plenty of answers and just know that the counting mistakes are here for you in any way we possibly can. We know believably difficult time for you losing your home. I just want you to know that your county supervisor Bruce MacPherson and the rest of us on this call are here for you reach out to any one of us for something to county council. I think we do have time for one more question. And so we'll move on to the next caller. And you'll hear that you've been unmuted her own silence. Just please do that.
Yes, good evening. Thank you for doing this for us. I have a question as far as insurance policies. For deadlines now these cash advances that they're offering Rogaine affects our timeline, because from what I'm hearing, I've heard from different people that it sometimes it'll affect the timeline from when you have to collect my insurance things in advance being questioned, it is not but they won't put it in writing. So I'm trying to figure out what that means to me. And the second question, should contractors be charging to be doing this? Because obviously, we want more than one bid on our property to get an idea of what it's fair cost to repair. And I was wondering if they should be asking for
money or percentage for that.
Yeah. He was a great question. Tony and Joel from our office is also on answering the question from our California, I want to share with regard to the first question in regard to your timelines. There's two basic pieces for your additional living expense coverage. payment of an advance does not trigger any kind of deadline, you're either you're covered for 20 for at least 24 months as possible 12 month extension for good cause for additional living expenses and up to your policy limits, so keep an eye on your policy limits. And when you get paid is not relevant to cutting off or triggering that 24 months or 36 months at 24 months or 36 months starts from the date that lost your home, not from when you got paid with regard to the replacement cost provision in your policy, collecting the remainder of your contents for personal property gutters, as well as the remainder of your reconstruction legal costs. There is a timeline that's triggered. But that's only triggered after you receive your full actual cash value payment not be advanced. And like a smaller advance payment would have to be called determined. It's going to cost 500,000. For example, to rebuild your home, the actual cash value of that rebuild is 300,000 shares, you have 300,000 actual cash value, and you get the 200,000. When you finish rebuilding, that would trigger at that point in 24 months and 36 months provisions that are in law, based on the date you got your actual cash value payment, but a smaller advance payment will not so I would say if your company is not willing to put that in writing, ask them again, in writing. If they refuse come to us. We can get them to clarify. You know what they're paying you whether that's an actual cash value payment, which would trigger at 24 months. It's a six month deadline, or whether it's not and you still haven't started that clock them ticking down. So I'll, I'll join in here on your second question about whether you would expect to have to pay a contractor to get it. And definitely, in normal circumstances, when we don't have this kind of extensive damage, you would expect contractors to get bid without a charge and know how they are seeking business. We have to give you a bid you compare it and make your selection and they are competing with other contractors. Certain of these scenarios like we have now in the county is very difficult to get a contractor they're getting many weeks Or bid. And so it becomes somewhat different situation. Some people want a bid, just to be able to show their insurer the cost to rebuild. So they can choose to buy or build a home elsewhere. And you know, and get their replacement cost for the building because you, you do have to show what it costs to rebuild or replace the home you have on the walk and so on. I'm going to stay with most contractors, you would expect to get a big without paying for it. But you need circumstances. If you have a contractor who you believe you can trust based on recommendations, and they are asking for a reasonable amount to pay for their fonts to draw up detailed debt because that's What you'll need may be worth it to pay for that bit in order to make sure you have a bit from a reputable, reputable recommended contractor, and to be able to make those comparisons. So, personally, I would understand if you do have to make
desirable contractor. Now, that's not the
Thank you for providing that information. And just
just about out of time here, FEMA does have some options that may be available to you, including cash assistance for critical needs. The deadline is just a few days you can contact my office of disaster assistance.gov provides $500 for critical needs funding media, please that might help defray at least some of these big costs. Maybe I'll highly recommend to you registered Disaster Assistance comm to just be eligible for all the FEMA options, as well. And so, Commissioner, I appreciate you and all of you joining in tonight, but I appreciate you taking the time to answer these questions directly from so many of our people in our community that have been impacted. We do the town halls every week, and it's an opportunity for members of our county to be able to ask questions of county and state and other leaders directly. Next week. For example, I have Dr. Maria Elena mikaze, who's the head of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Emory University is also running the taskforce on the Lancet commission for COVID-19 and therapeutics and vaccines to give you a sense of trying to provide access to our local community to people that are in the decision making process right now, supervisor, Cori and I can't thank you enough and for those of you that are listening tonight and you didn't get access to some of the The insurance commissioner's office and has them those supposed to provide your country myself and we can afford out to a number of the links that we're discussing tonight, as well as provide a copy of the recording, because so much information was provided tonight. But I want to provide the last word to you, Commissioner again, thank you so much for taking the time.
Thank you again.
You know, again, we know we're going through a difficult time and my prayers to everyone who lost their their home and living 20 years that you're safe and the family
and I know there are so many
insurance issues. I want to remind you that we are here I am here. The Department of Insurance is here to help you. The majority of our staff is kind of working and we continue to provide essential services for California businesses and consumers. We speak multiple languages. You can reach us again at our hotline every hundred matches are to be five, seven, or nine uninsurance up to a god. And I want to be very candid with you. I know that insurance issues are complicated for our business owners, or business owners or, you know, their job is to keep the businesses open and keep them running. The last thing you want to do, worry about your insurance, how you're gonna pay it and forget it. Are homeowners the same thing. That is the worst thing you can do, because I need you to be vigilant. I need you to be knowledgeable about what your insurance product says. And what your policy dictates is critical for you to understand that and become advocates for yourself. We are here to help you. You know, we are a big largest insurance, largest consumer protection agency and we're on your side. please shoot us an email, give us a call, we will answer your question. We will help guide you to what options you have and more importantly, help empower Have you to make the decisions that you need to make that are best for your business. So you and your family, thank you know, we continue to pray for everyone in our space to make sure we can get through this and maybe we're gonna get to this is by opening with Lisa communication that you have supervisor Francis will county committee and I really appreciate your time and look forward to being with you guys again, to continue to answer these clinical questions so that our residents of clinical county can can move and move out of this and continue to to thrive like we always have. Thank you, Commissioner. Thank you all for taking the time to listen tonight. Again, if you want a copy of the recording, just drop one of us in email either supervisor community or myself and we'll get it to you. Please do stay safe. And if you're interested, just tune in next week to our town hall and participate on Tuesdays at 6pm. Thank you again for coming