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In a move reflecting the dire effects of climate change, insurance behemoth State Farm recently announced a halt on new home insurance sales in California. Citing increased wildfire risks and skyrocketing construction costs, the company has stopped accepting applications for both business and personal lines property and casualty insurance as of May 27. However, existing auto insurance policies will remain unaffected.

Source: CBS News/Youtube

State Farm, the nation’s largest provider of auto and home insurance, attributes the decision to the stark rise in construction costs exceeding inflation, the growing exposure to catastrophic events, and a difficult reinsurance market. California has seen a worrying uptick in wildfires over the past five years, averaging more than 7,000 fires annually and consuming over 2 million acres. Both scientists and California authorities point to the climate crisis as the culprit behind the escalating intensity of fire seasons.

While this move by State Farm may seem to prioritize short-term financial stability, the California Department of Insurance has emphasized its commitment to consumer protection, according to spokesperson Michael Soller. The factors leading to State Farm’s decision, Soller stressed, are beyond the department’s control. He also noted that current State Farm customers will not be affected, and no non-renewals will result from this announcement.

Despite this shift, State Farm has pledged to work with the California Department of Insurance and lawmakers to bolster market capacity within the state. According to the company, the actions taken are necessary to improve its financial strength, with an intention to reevaluate its stance as market conditions evolve. State Farm agents will continue serving existing customers.

This development follows last year’s announcement from American Insurance Group about its decision to withdraw policies for multimillion-dollar homes in California, also due to wildfire risk.

As we grapple with the increasing impacts of Climate change, this news underscores the urgency for collective action towards sustainability and climate resilience. Let this be a call to action for all readers – consider the environmental choices you make daily and strive for a more sustainable future.

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