Legislator to hold virtual town hall meeting on fire insurance problems

Assemblyman Marc Berman, D-Menlo Park

Assemblyman Marc Berman, D-Menlo Park, will hold a virtual town hall meeting today (Wednesday, July 19) to hear from homeowners about Allstate and State Farm pulling out of the home insurance market in California.

State Farm announced in May it would stop accepting applications for all business and personal lines of property and casualty insurance in California because of soaring construction costs after the wildfires in 2020 and 2021. The decision did not impact personal auto insurance.

Allstate announced in November it would pause new homeowners, condo and commercial insurance policies in California to protect current customers.

Berman is inviting his constituents to participate in a virtual town hall meeting from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on July 19. Call his office at (650) 324-0224 for more information or go to https://a23.asmdc.org/event/20230719-insurance-town-hall.

Berman’s guests will include:

• state Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, who regulates homeowner insurance companies.

• Woodside Mayor Chris Shaw;

• Chief Denise Enea, fire marshal of Woodside Fire Protection District and executive director of Fire Safe San Mateo County;

• Saratoga City Manager James Lindsay;

• Chief Daniel Berlant, acting state fire marshal with Cal Fire

The cost of rebuilding after the wildfires have forced insurance companies to pay out more money than they’ve been taking in.

Before State Farm announced it was pulling out, the company had requested a 28% rate hike on homeowners’ insurance; Allstate had filed for a 39.6% increase.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the insurance crunch is affecting buyers across the state already, even in areas where the wildfire risk is low. In San Francisco, real estate agents say they have seen deals fall through because would-be buyers couldn’t get insured. Mortgage lenders require homeowners insurance before approving a home sale to protect their investment.


  1. I’m sure all these officials will deny that the state’s forest management practices are to blame for the fires that have pushed these insurance companies out. If you can’t admit the problem, you won’t be able to solve it.

    • What’s the difference? Forests burn now or they burn later. All forests burn at some point. That’s nature. The real problem is when we build housing right up against and into the forests, and then delude ourselves that nothing will happen because we have fire trucks. Let them rebuild and charge an appropriate premium. If you can’t afford it then you don’t build or buy there.

      • Sammy, nobody is arguing about naturally occurring forest fires. The problem is that the giant fires we had a few years ago were due to the fuel left on the ground by the legislators who were taking orders from the environmentalists.

  2. “Mortgage lenders require homeowners insurance before approving a home sale to protect their investment.”

    This was true decades ago. Nothing has changed. Everyone wants to protect their investment.

  3. I’m sure he’ll listen as closely as he did to the 200+ people on a housing Zoom where he claimed he was too too busy to follow all the bills and also how he was too too busy to seek answers on when — if ever — El Camino would get repaved.

    But he DID manage to get a pamphlet written on gun safety which certainly everyone will read, including the who shot himself in the groin the very next day.

  4. Berman is well on track to help bring the conditions found in the Tenderloin into Menlo Park and Palo Alto. He votes in lockstep with Scott Weiner. You can thank him for the proposal to construct a 300 ft tall complex at the Sunset magazine site.

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