Today's Law As Amended

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AB-1923 Residential property insurance: wildfires: consolidated debris removal.(2017-2018)



SECTION 1.

 Section 10103.8 is added to the Insurance Code, to read:

10103.8.
 (a) For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:
(1) An “assignee” is the county or designated agency overseeing the consolidated debris removal program in which the policyholder’s property is located.
(2) A “consolidated debris removal program” is a program in which a residential property owner, who has insurance in effect at the time of a wildfire that provides coverage for debris removal, voluntarily assigns any rights, benefits, and proceeds for that coverage to a county or designated agency and makes any benefits and proceeds directly payable to that county or designated agency.
(3) A “right of entry form” is a form used by the county or designated agency to obtain the permission of the property owner to undertake consolidated debris removal services on the property owner’s property and that includes a provision whereby the property owner may make an assignment of insurance benefits payable.
(b) If a consolidated debris removal program is implemented following a “state of emergency,” as defined in Section 8558 of the Government Code, and the insurer for residential property receives a signed copy of the policyholder’s right of entry form, the insurer shall, upon request of the policyholder or the policyholder’s assignee:
(1) Provide the assignee with relevant policy and claim information.
(2) Issue payment directly to the assignee for any covered debris removal costs payable, but not yet paid, to the policyholder, to the extent that either of the following applies:
(A) There are remaining benefits under any policy provision exclusively dedicated to debris removal costs.
(B) There are remaining benefits under any other policy provision that covers debris removal costs, without specific allocation, together with other categories of loss, and the policyholder has completed the process of rebuilding the damaged dwelling or has otherwise settled the claim for benefits under that policy provision.
(c) If a residential property owner does not elect to participate in the program, the insurance policy providing coverage for that property is not subject to this section.
(d) A residential property owner who makes an assignment of insurance benefits by executing a right of entry form is not liable for any additional costs of the debris removal in the designated area in which the debris removal program is implemented.
(e) If the residential property owner’s insurance coverage for debris removal is not separately specified by the policy, but is included within another coverage category, the payment to the county or designated agency is limited to the cost of debris removal at the insured property, but shall not exceed the amount of the unused benefit, if any, in the other coverage category after the residence is rebuilt or replaced.
(f) An invoice submitted by a county or designated agency to an insurance company pursuant to this section shall include an itemization of all charges, including the claim number or policy number and the property address. A county or designated agency shall include in the invoice only those charges or fees that are directly incurred while performing debris removal services for the specific property covered by the insurance policy. The county or designated agency shall submit the invoice no later than six months after the debris removal services are completed.
(g) This section does not require an insurer to pay more than a reasonable amount for debris removal services based upon the type and quality of services provided by the consolidated debris removal program at the insured property.
(h) An insurance company does not incur any obligation or liability to any person or entity from actions taken to comply with the requirements of this section.
(i) The provisions of this section are severable. If any provision of this section or its application is held invalid, that invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application.