New Year, New Laws

California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara says there are six new insurance laws that went into effect January 1, 2021. Here’s the info:

  • Senate Bill 872, authored by Senator Bill Dodd, removes barriers for future wildfire survivors to get critical insurance benefitsand streamlines wildfire recovery processes for homeowners who suffer wildfire losses. The new law will require an advance payment for no less than four months of Additional Living Expenses (ALE) and no longer require an itemized inventory form for content claims, among other consumer protections. As of July 1, 2021, the law will expand ALE benefits, including for policyholders whose homes are rendered uninhabitable due to wildfire damage to essential infrastructure.
  • Assembly Bill 2756, jointly authored by Assemblymembers Monique Limón and Richard Bloom, provides additional insurance for disaster survivors to rebuild and requires more transparency when a new policy is sold that does not cover losses from wildfire.
  • Assembly Bill 2658, authored by Assembly member Autumn Burke, protects domestic workers from employer retaliation, including firing, if they refuse to work in hazardous It also prevents an employer from ordering an employee, including a household domestic service worker, to remain in or enter a mandatory evacuation zone as a result of wildfires or a local public health order, which would include circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Senate Bill 1192, authored by Senator Steven Bradford, creates department oversight of public safety workers’ benefit associations to ensure these associations provide financially sound insurance benefits and are transparent to their members.
  • Assembly Bill 2049, authored by Assembly Member Ken Cooley, incorporates the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC)-approved revisions to the Credit for Reinsurance Model Regulation into California law, thus preventing federal preemption of California’s existing law regarding credit for reinsurance and retaining the state’s accreditation by the NAIC.
  • Senate Bill 1255, jointly authored by Senator Lena Gonzalez and the Senate Insurance Committee, remedies several issues identified by the department and stakeholders to clarify and clean-up various technical Insurance Code sections. This new law also includes the Equal HIV Insurance Act which, starting January 1, 2023, will prohibit an insurance company from declining an application or enrollment request for coverage under a policy for life insurance or disability income insurance based solely on the applicant’s HIV status.