Prepare for Disaster

In the last year, too many Californians faced the devastating consequences of historic wildfires and mudslides. As a state, California is constantly threatened by the impact of man-made climate change – whether it’s the lengthening and intensifying wildfire seasons, rising sea levels, continuing drought conditions, or even the ever-present danger of earthquakes. The state’s leaders have to ensure that it is preparing for the future.

First and foremost, Dr. Mahmood believes we need to deal with the damage already wreaked by the tragic fires and mudslides of 2017. Californians can’t be left footing the bill, and Dr. Mahmood is committed to making sure that insurance companies are stepping up to pay for the damage. He is deeply concerned by continuing reports of victims still struggling to deal with insurance companies. He believes CDI needs to go further in demanding greater accountability for insurance adjusters who operate unsupervised and are giving victims misleading information, and make sure there is individualized follow-up from CDI to each victim to make sure they have the resources and support to recover and rebuild.

In addition, the state needs to prepare for the future. As it relates to wildfires, there are more than 2 million households in California in areas that are at high or extreme risk of fire. In the past, insurance companies have refused to renew tens of thousands of insurance policies based on fire risk – this could happen again in the wake of the disasters of 2017. Dr. Mahmood supports efforts to make it harder for these companies to cancel coverage or increase rates for homeowners in at-risk regions. Regarding flood insurance, California’s exposure to major flooding is expected to triple or quadruple in the next eighty years, and Dr. Mahmood believes elected officials have a responsibility to act now to lay the groundwork to prevent catastrophic damage in the future. However, Congress has repeatedly neglected to take long-term strategic action and has instead resorted to short-term fixes to the National Flood Insurance Program. As Insurance Commissioner, Dr. Mahmood will use his platform to lobby Congress on the importance of fixing the program and addressing its debt. He will also work with FEMA, whose flood maps are currently based on a “massive miscalculation” to insure that they are updated and accurate, so Californians can make more informed decisions about their coverage.

As an industry that is directly impacted by the effects of climate change, Dr. Mahmood will also work with the next Governor and legislature to pursue policies that curb the effect of climate change, require insurance company boards to have climate competency, and increase transparency for homeowners and buyers about their risks.