Meanwhile, Allstate is withdrawing from California because of wildfires.
Last week, I reported that State Farm will no longer accept applications for home and business insurance in California due to wildfire risks and the cost of rebuilding.
Now, another company is also opting out of offering home and business insurance in the state.
Allstate, another insurance powerhouse, announced in November it would pause new homeowners, condo and commercial insurance policies in California to protect current customers.
“The cost to insure new home customers in California is far higher than the price they would pay for policies due to wildfires, higher costs for repairing homes and higher reinsurance premiums,” Allstate said in a statement.
California’s unsettled market aligns with trends across the country in which companies are boosting rates, limiting coverage or pulling out completely from regions susceptible to wildfires and other natural disasters in the era of climate change. Florida and Louisiana have struggled to keep healthy insurance markets following extensive damage from hurricanes. Premiums are rising in Colorado amid wildfire threats, and an Oregon effort to map wildfire risk was rejected last year because of fears it would cause premiums to skyrocket.
The California Department of Insurance blames climate change for the rash of destructive wildfires. But of course!
However, those who have followed my reports from the state know it the only climate causing fires is the political one. The state is just about to enact another policy in the name of “economic fairness” that is going to undermine one of the most effective wildfire prevention industries in California: Goat herding.
Increasingly in recent years, Californians have put goats’ voracious and almost indiscriminate diets to work, minimizing fuel for wildfires across the state — a method that has been heralded as sustainable, economical and effective at reducing underbrush that can become dangerous in the hot summer months.
But goat ranchers worry a recent change in state labor requirements for herders could jeopardize the future of the industry — which some have said is particularly important this year, after an extremely wet winter left behind even more fuel for wildfires.
Goat herders were recently reclassified by California labor regulators, differentiating them from sheep herders — a new distinction that means goat herders will no longer be eligible for a monthly herders’ compensation, set at a minimum of $2,755 plus required overtime. Instead, employers will be required come Jan. 1 to compensate goat herders at an hourly rate, now set at $15.50 for farmworkers, plus required overtime.
And given the nature of a goat herders’ job, which is considered on-call 24/7, industry leaders and the California Farm Bureau estimate that change would come out to almost $14,000 a month.
Tim Arrowsmith of Western Grazers explains what the likely consequences of this reclassification are going to be.
Arrowsmith employs seven goat herders from Peru, who are on federal guest worker permits. He provides free housing, food and a phone.
“We are taking very good care of the employees because they are taking very good care of the livestock,” Arrowsmith said.
But he said this new labor regulation would put him out of business.
“We can’t sustain it, and the cities can’t sustain it … The goats will go to the market, and we will sell out, and I’ll go to work at Walmart,” Arrowsmith said.
Much like the grass and vegetation, goat grazing services have grown all over the state.
Arrowsmith started with one client 10 years ago. Now he has more than 100 customers and 6,000 goats.
It seems that goats can chew through anything except California’s red tape.DONATE
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