Gavin Newsom is killing the insurance industry.

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Reading insurance trade magazines isn’t everyone’s idea of a great time, but every Californian should pay attention to the latest news in that arcane world. “State Farm to pull out of 72,000 California insurance policies,” blared a Reinsurance News headline. State Farm provides nearly 21 percent of state homeowner policies, so this is big news. Last year, it stopped writing new homeowner policies. Now it’s “non-renewing” existing ones and getting out of apartment policies entirely.

Stories about the state’s crisis du jour have seeped into the mainstream media too. “The ongoing home insurance crisis in California is about to deepen as yet another company has announced its withdrawal from the state over profitability concerns,” explained Newsweek earlier this month, reporting on the exit of Texas-based American National.

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However, the California Department of Insurance website’s top item boasts that Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara “protects policy holders affected by wildfires from non-renewals.” How’s that working out for us? The state’s insurance problems have plagued wildfire-adjacent homeowners for a few years, but it’s rapidly spreading to homeowners in non-wildfire-adjacent areas. The state’s “protections” are window dressing.

I don’t live anywhere near a forest, yet my latest renewal showed a near-doubling of rates. After talking to my insurance agent, I decided to just pay the higher premium and be thankful I received a renewal. Increasing numbers of Californians must now rely on the so-called FAIR Plan (Fair Access to Insurance Requirements), the state-created, industry-funded insurer of last resort—one that provides only barebones coverage.

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