The Tree Mortality Task Force (TMTF) held a workshop to discuss insurance affordability and availability in rural areas this week. TMTF is comprised of state and federal agencies, local governments, utilities, and various stakeholders that coordinate emergency protective actions. Included in the workshop were representatives from fire departments, rural counties, regulators, consumer groups (United Policyholders), and insurers. The California Department of Insurance (CDI) conveyed to the audience that they can regulate rates of insurers offering homeowners’ insurance, but that they lacked authority to regulate insurers’ underwriting methodology. Rural representatives hammered home that homeowners insurance is too expensive, largely unavailable, and that insurers’ underwriting methodology are inadequate as they do not account for mitigation measures undertaken by a policyholder. The United Policyholders insisted that affordability and availability of homeowners’ insurance in rural areas is a crisis that the legislature must address. ACIC emphasized that homeowners insurance is highly regulated under Proposition 103, California is not a “file and use” state, and that homeowners insurance rates must be actuarially sound. ACIC also questioned the homeowners insurance unavailability issue since there is no data to support such assertion, and California has an insurer of last resort program, the FAIR Plan for homeowners who could not purchase coverage in the private market. ACIC further cautioned that any legislative efforts to require mandatory coverage could lead to less competition in the market. For an outside the box approach, ACIC suggested TMTF to consider Colorado Wildlife Partners program, which focuses on mitigation efforts for policyholders. ACIC will closely monitor this issue moving forward.