SACRAMENTO — The Assembly on Thursday passed an insurance industry-backed version of a bill to create a $10.6-billion state fund to cover homeowners' earthquake losses.
But the vote, the second attempt at approving the bill, was not a victory for the industry but an attempt to advance the bill into a conference committee in order to seek a compromise with a more consumer-friendly version passed by the Senate.
The bill by Assemblyman David Knowles (R-Placerville) fell short Monday of the two-thirds vote needed. Backers on Thursday amended it to make it a majority-vote measure; it was sent to the Senate by a 45-22 vote.
The Legislature last year passed a law creating the concept of a California Earthquake Authority, but another bill must be passed this year to set up the actual state-run quake insurance program.
Homeowners' insurers have been limiting their policies since the January 1994 Northridge quake, which caused $12.5 billion in insured losses.
Insurance firms in particular want repeal of a law that requires companies that sell homeowners' insurance to offer quake insurance to policyholders. They say that requirement places them unfairly at risk.
The CEA, proposed by Insurance Commissioner Chuck Quackenbush, would set up a state-run authority to cover quake losses. Minority Leader Richard Katz (D-Sylmar) said the Senate bill was "superior for consumers" but that both chambers' measures needed to get swiftly into the conference committee to work out a compromise.