Jones said the wildfire risk is now year-round and insurers are noticing fires occur in more surprising regions, like Ventura County. That could cause insurers to leave areas they consider riskier.
In San Diego County, 137,786 homes, or 16 percent, are in wildfire-prone areas. Jones said a growing number of them are not going to be able to buy homeowners insurance. Instead, they could be relegated to the California state FAIR plan, which only covers fire damage.
Jones said he wants the state legislature to enact laws that require insurers to offer homeowners insurance coverage to high-risk homes or an affordable alternative as long as they require tasks to increase safety, such as creating defensible space.
The American Insurance Association said in a statement that the idea is a bad course of action.
“The insurance industry’s overwhelming priority right now is helping their customers rebuild their lives and restore their property. We urge the Commissioner to proceed with caution," the statement said. "... Only a competitive insurance market ultimately will fill the insurance needs of California homeowners.”
Jones said he would be approaching state legislators with his idea in the new session.