Another big insurer halts new policies in California

13 News Fact Finders: Could it happen in AZ?
Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 3:02 PM MST|Updated: Jun. 6, 2023 at 3:23 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - As wildfire season begins, a second insurance giant has decided to stop selling policies to new homeowners in California. Allstate joins State Farm in saying the cost to insure new customers is too high because of thousands of natural disasters. We have some of the same wildfire and mudslide dangers in Arizona, prompting the 13 News Fact Finders to ask: could it happen here?

I talked to Aris Papadopoulos, founder of Resilience Action Fund, a non-profit for resilient building. He compared California’s disaster losses to Arizona’s. Per capita, Papadopoulos says our state has recently had about two-and-a-half-times fewer losses than California.

“I wouldn’t rest, because all states including Arizona may be five to ten years away from becoming the next California or the next Florida,” Papadopoulos said, “And the question we all should be asking ourselves is, ‘How do we keep that from happening?’”

Several coastal states, like Connecticut, Louisiana, and Florida are already seeing this with insurance companies who say it’s too expensive to insure homeowners there. Insurance companies call it growing “catastrophic exposure.” It has these states coming up with their own way to insure homeowners who have no other way to get insurance - and that costs taxpayers money.

Papadopoulos says there are several lessons we can learn from California, and recommends the gold standard “Wildland Urban Interface” building codes be adopted across the state. He points out, Arizona currently has no state building code. But for homeowners, the best thing we can do is build the safest homes possible, and keep them well maintained. You can also ask your insurance company what else you can do to decrease your risk - they have lots of resources. And stay engaged with state and local conversations on home safety.

Click here to see more of Brooke Wagner’s interview with Aris Papadopoulos:

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