2022 Legislative Snapshot

Collaboration Gets Results:

PIFC worked closely with the Consumer Attorneys of California to pass a two-bill package to address insurance and litigation reform.  Governor Newsom recently signed both bills into law.

SB 1155 (Caballero) – Creates new law that settlement demands remain open for 30 business days prior to the filing of litigation and must include specific information, including for example, a complete release and reasonable proof in support of the claim.

SB 1107 (Dodd) – Includes an increase in the minimum auto financial responsibility limits from the current law limits $15,000 per person, $30,000 per occurrence and $5,000 for property damage to $30,000 per person, $60,000 per occurrence and $15,000 for property damage.

Hostile Bills Killed:

As part of his campaign for Insurance Commissioner, Assemblymember Marc Levine introduced several bills targeting insurers and their ability to effectively operate in California. Through advocacy, outreach and collaboration with other trade associations, these bills were stopped.

AB 1694 (Levine) – Would have required insurers in California to report investments in, and underwriting of, any fossil fuel related companies and projects.  The goal of the bill was to make it harder for fossil fuel companies or projects to obtain insurance and drive up the cost of doing business. It required unprecedented disclosures of worldwide customers and project specific information, raising serious questions about how it could be used to undermine marketplace competition, privacy, and trade secret protections.

AB 1755 (Levine) – Would have mandated that insurers issue a homeowners’ insurance policy to any homeowner who has hardened their home against fire.  By eliminating underwriting flexibility, it would have required insurers to bear an unmanageable level of risk that could jeopardize their solvency and threaten insurance availability for all Californians.

AB 2323 (Levine) – Would have required an unprecedented level of reporting and bureaucracy for every conversation or communication, to the extent that it would damage the ability of stakeholders to communicate with CDI leadership and create barriers to the free exercise of First Amendment rights to communicate with public officials. In short, the bill would have made it nearly impossible for insurers to effectively communicate with CDI leadership to get new products approved, rate filings approved, and work out operational issues.

Wildfire Bills:

PIFC supported several bills that were passed to reduce the risk of wildfire and make insurance more available and affordable in the long term.

SB 884 (McGuire) – Provides direction on undergrounding utility power lines in high fire-threat areas and creates a better regulatory framework to review and approve long term, multi-year underground plans that can significantly reduce the risk of wildfire attributable to powerlines and electrical equipment. (e.g., PG&E stated that it intended to underground 10,000 miles).

SB 884 was signed by the Governor and chaptered.

SB 896 (Dodd) – Requires local governments to utilize the common reporting platform maintained by CalFire when they report on defensible space inspections.  This will improve the quality and consistency of defensible space data and encourage a greater understanding of California’s defensible space requirements, which is beneficial for all our communities.

SB 896 was signed by the Governor and chaptered.

AB 522 (Fong) – Improves proactive forest management by removing barriers to use of the Forest Fire Prevention Exemption by removing the existing 300-acre cap on the total number of acres treated, allowing temporary road construction of over 2 miles. This helps property owners to engage in effective fire-risk reduction work, improves forest health, increases fire resiliency, and reduces the impacts of wildfires on California communities.

AB 522 was signed by the Governor and chaptered.

Public Safety Bills

Catalytic Converter bills- There were dozens of bills introduced aiming to curb the recent surge of catalytic converter thefts. Many of these bills passed, including AB 1740 (Muratsuchi) and SB 1087 (Gonzalez), both of which aim to track the converters, cut off the market for stolen converters and educate consumers on ways to limit exposure to theft.

AB 1740 and SB 1087 were signed by the Governor and chaptered.

DUI Bill-SB 1021(Bradford)- Senate Bill 1021 would allow courts to grant a pretrial diversion to motor vehicle operators found guilty of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. These diversion programs would mask demerit points on motor vehicle records upon completion of a 12- month program for first time offenders and limit the ability of insurers to utilize this information in their underwriting and rating. Additionally, because there is no tracking of first-time offenders without the points, there is nothing to stop offenders from repeatedly using the diversion program to avoid having a point added to their record.

After extensive advocacy and outreach, SB 1021 failed to move out of the Assembly Public Safety Committee.

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