Saturday, February 4, 2023

CalChamber Board Explores Wildfire Challenges for Utilities, Insurers

Pedro Nava, chair of the Little Hoover Commission and a former Assembly member, moderates a panel discussion with representatives from the utilities and insurance industries (both heavily regulated) at the CalChamber Board of Directors meeting on September 6. The subject: the issues being raised by the recurrence of deadly wildfires.
Kevin Sagara, chairman and CEO of San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), describes how the utility has improved infrastructure (such as replacing wood power poles with steel); upgraded technology for monitoring weather, vegetation risk and history of its above-ground power lines (40% of the system); and public notification setup since a 2007 wildfire was deemed to have been caused by SDG&E equipment. The focus of company culture—from lineman to top executives—is “to keep our customers safe,” Sagara says.
CalChamber Board member Tom Conley, senior vice president of State Farm Insurance Companies/president and CEO, State Farm General Insurance Company, explains the practical and regulatory factors at play in determining whether premium pricing is adequate to match the loss risk. A question to consider, he says, is if wildfires are now like Florida hurricanes, are they being appropriately considered in the ratemaking process?
The California Chamber of Commerce is the largest, broad-based business advocate to government in California, working at the state and federal levels to influence government actions affecting all California business. As a not-for-profit, we leverage our front-line knowledge of laws and regulations to provide affordable and easy-to-use compliance products and services.

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