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Added story 7/27/21: Governor signs bill allowing insurance access for farms

Issue Date: July 21, 2021

California farmers and ranchers will be able to use the state's insurer of last resort for their operations under a bill signed Friday.

Senate Bill 11, sponsored by the California Farm Bureau, is a response to the challenges faced by farmers who lost insurance coverage because of the state's record-setting wildfires and found obtaining new coverage difficult and expensive, if not impossible. The bill cleared the Assembly and Senate unanimously on the way to Gov. Gavin Newsom, who approved the bill July 23.

California Farm Bureau President Jamie Johansson welcomed the bill's signing.

"As California continues to endure another significant wildfire season, we appreciate Governor Newsom's quick action to ensure that production agriculture has access to California's insurer of last resort," Johansson said.

The bill allows farmers and ranchers to insure their farm buildings and equipment under the California FAIR Plan, which writes policies for property owners otherwise unable to obtain insurance. Previously, only private residences were eligible. FAIR stands for Fair Access to Insurance Requirements.

The FAIR Plan now has 90 days to submit insurance forms, guidelines and rates to the California Department of Insurance for approval. Coverage may be available by the end of the year.

Farm Bureau and Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara held a series of roundtables in May and June in Napa, San Luis Obispo and Butte counties to hear from farmers and ranchers whose insurance carriers canceled or declined to renew their policies on account of wildfire risk.

SB 11 was authored by Sen. Susan Rubio, D-Baldwin Park.

"We would like thank Senator Susan Rubio for her leadership and commitment to California's agricultural community during this time of crisis, and Insurance Commissioner Lara's partnership to address this critical issue," Johansson said.

Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.

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