State Farm will almost entirely stop issuing new policies in California – with climate-exacerbated wildfires and bad public policy a large reason why

State Farm, the country’s largest property insurer, announced this week that it will almost entirely stop issuing new policies in California, the country’s largest property insurance market. The reasons for forgoing all that new business are entirely economic. The company cited “historic increases in construction costs outpacing inflation, rapidly growing catastrophe exposure, and a challenging reinsurance market”. Those things are owed largely to the wildfires engulfing bigger parts of the state in bigger chunks of the year.

California’s woes have a lot to do with the climate crisis, which fuels the hot, dry conditions that turn wooded hills into kindling. It’s also a political failure. Housing crises in the Golden state have pushed more and more people out of densely populated areas and into the so-called wildland-urban interface – places that are cheaper to live in, and more prone to burn. Wealthy homeowners in fire-prone enclaves are also reluctant to move, keen to keep rebuilding properties that keep getting destroyed.


Similar dynamics are playing out around the country. Insurance companies are hiking up costs or wholly withdrawing from some areas after deadly, costly flooding in Appalachia and hurricanes in Louisiana and Florida, where property insurance rates are now roughly triple the national average.

Read more: TheGuardian

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