Unintended Consequences: Higher Insurance Rates

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Editor,

Laguna Beach city staff has just helped raise your insurance rates.

City staff, in an effort to convince and scare you to pay for undergrounding utility poles, made a visit last year to argue before the California Public Utilities Commission that all of Laguna is a high fire risk. Cal Fire successfully argued that their current map is correct and did not warrant an elevated risk in the rest of Laguna.  Result: CPUC agreed with Cal Fire and did not change the fire risk map of Laguna.

Really, Laguna Beach?  Are the urban areas of Laguna a high risk?  Over the last 10 years, fewer than 1 percent of all fires in Laguna have been caused by utility poles and not one caused significant damage (based on 100 fires/yr.).  When Laguna Beach lists liabilities towards repayment of their bonds, did they prioritize this fire risk? No. It was listed as a negligible risk, really not worth mentioning.

But the insurance companies listened.  Oh, indeed they listened.  And now, thanks to their trip to CPUC, your insurance rates are going up.   I have a friend whose insurance was cancelled and now can’t find an insurer.  Another friend’s rates just went up. I can’t wait to see my increase despite my phos-chek (fire retardant) tank and delivery system, ice plant, which I water with my precious water allocation instead of other uses, my drought tolerant yard and clearing debris around my home according to fire department specifications.

City Hall – just exactly what did you think was going to happen when you falsely raised the alarm? You’re not looking out for residents at all.  The utility poles didn’t raise my rates; you did.

Michèle Monda, Laguna Beach

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