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Why is homeowners insurance becoming less available and more expensive in California and other western states? The problem is a complex interaction between state level insurance regulation and evolving risks of catastrophic loss due to natural hazards, most notably wildfire. I will explain how insurers evaluate individual structure risk, and the known but not commonly adopted approaches that reduce it. Next I will discuss the regulatory and market structure that currently controls the price and characteristics of insurance in California. Finally, I will explain the options under discussion for reform of the insurance market to take better account of the changing risk picture in California and briefly discuss how these relate to broader patterns in insurance of catastrophic risk throughout the United States.
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