Victims of the blazes often find themselves underinsured, even after recently updating policies.
The majority of the victims of the Marshall fire are seeking to rebuild and return to their lives and communities but are struggling with their Colorado wildfire insurance.
Reports are finding that the majority of victims were underinsured even after a recent policy update.
Lawmakers are hoping to make changes that will improve the Colorado wildfire insurance claims process to make it easier for victims of natural disasters to rebuild if that is their choice. State Senator Bob Rankin is among those examining the conditions of the victims on the Western Slope.
“There were four major wildfires in my district in 2020, so I feel a real responsibility,” said Rankin. He also stated that he is concerned over the underinsurance issue victims of the Marshall Fire are facing. “I don’t think anybody is to blame, actually. I think the insurance companies have offered a product, in many cases, with options. It’s an issue of public awareness. It’s an issue of understanding the risk.”
Mandating Colorado wildfire insurance coverage is a complex and potentially expensive move.
“We can’t mandate that everybody in the Front Range buys an expensive policy because everybody is not at the same risk,” explained Rankin.
That said, the senator is well aware of a requirement for updating the areas at risk of these natural disasters and to potentially add Superior, Louisville and other suburban neighborhoods to those zones. Those are areas where residents hadn’t expected to face a disaster like the Marshall Fire.
“And that would lead to what kind of insurance do you need, depending on the risk area,” added Rankin who has also sponsored legislation this session to simplify the claims process for victims of blazes like the Marshall Fire.
HB22-1111 would require Colorado wildfire insurance providers to pay a larger upfront sum for personal property claims. Those are the claims that provide coverage for a home’s contents. The current regulation in the state requires insurers to pay only 30 percent of the value of the policy up front. After that point, the policyholder must provide an itemized list of all the lost belongings in order to obtain the rest of their policy payouts from the insurer.