SISTERS, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioner Phil Chang is concerned insurance companies are raising premiums for fire-prone communities, or considering pulling coverage entirely.
“I am hearing reports from south county, from west county…Sisters area… that people are having premiums go up. Some people are facing not cancellation of their policy, but insurers are saying we're pulling out of this area,” Chang says he even saw a letter stating the insurer is using the outdated wildfire risk map to determine its rates, which violates state rules. “The state wildfire map said that you're a higher risk. And so that's why we're canceling your policy. I told them to report that to the state insurance commissioner.”
Chang tells KBND News companies have their own set of data, and don’t need the controversial map, “They have been tracking claims and losses in our community for decades, so they know where there's a severe fire risk.”
He suggests policy-holders show insurers they’ve taken steps to reduce the risk of wildfire, but admits that’s challenging, “How you get the insurance industry to recognize the measures that we're taking to make ourselves more resilient. It's super complicated because, they don't have inspectors to go out and check everyone's home.”
The county's latest round of Fuel Reduction Grants is accepting applications for communities and neighborhoods to conduct work related to improving defensible space.