October 5, 2000 |
Officials in earthquake-prone California have won their fight--at least for now--against federal legislation that would require hazard insurance for all public buildings. Despite Senate support for the requirement, the House removed it late Tuesday after vigorous opposition from the state's entire 52-member congressional delegation.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 3, 2000 |
Thousands of homeowners who suffered property damage in the Northridge earthquake will be able to file revised claims with their insurance companies under legislation signed by Gov. Gray Davis, attorneys and insurance industry officials said Monday. The bill, SB 1899, signed late Saturday, allows most earthquake insurance policyholders to submit claims by Jan. 1, 2002, even if they had previously missed the deadline to file claims.
July 14, 2000 |
A model home survived a simulated earthquake Tuesday in the last of a series of tests conducted by University of California engineers in San Diego. More interesting than the experiment itself, however, was that it was conducted at all. The tests on the two-story, tile-roofed structure were the first on the kind of wood frame construction that houses 99% of the American population, university officials said.
May 9, 2000 |
Mounting complaints from homeowners over alleged mishandling of earthquake insurance claims have prompted a state Senate committee investigating the issue to launch a Web site to gather information electronically. The Web site, http://www.insurancecomplaint.com, was set up over the weekend by the Senate Insurance Committee, chaired by Sen. Jackie Speier (D-Daly City). Dozens of callers had contacted the relatively low-profile committee in search of help.
March 3, 2000 |
Last week I wrote about Californians' reluctance to face their earthquake risk and the many wrongheaded reasons people use for not buying earthquake insurance. Several readers wrote in to defend their decision to go "bare"--inadvertently providing even more examples of less-than-stellar thinking. One woman said she dropped her earthquake insurance after her company delayed paying her 1994 Northridge claim.
February 25, 2000 |
Only 17% of California's homeowners have earthquake insurance. Are the rest in denial--or making a rational choice? Some financial planners suggest the latter. They say that the majority of California homeowners are opting out after weighing the relatively remote chance of a temblor destroying their homes against the high cost of today's earthquake coverage. But we don't buy insurance coverage just to protect us from likely occurrences.
September 9, 1999 |
Taking a novel approach to billing-fraud law, 20th Century Insurance Co. is using a California civil statute to sue a building contractor it alleges padded Northridge earthquake repair estimates and claims. 20th Century is suing John Kaldawi; Kaldawi's company, Building Permit Consultants of Encino; and engineer Mesrop A. Mesrop of Burbank for $50 million, alleging that they prepared and submitted phony repair estimates and engineering reports.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 23, 1999 |
California is a land of excellent climate, tremendous material wealth and unlimited opportunity. But it is also a land of risk, particularly of catastrophic earthquakes. And the costs of ignoring risks can be considerable. I bring this up because the state government's experiment with earthquake insurance, the California Earthquake Authority, is having a tough time.