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Safety News Around my Village

It has been my good fortune for some time to serve on the board of the Montecito Association. Last week at our monthly meeting an Ad Hoc Insurance committe was formed and I volunteered to be on the committee. The purpose of the is committee is as follows;

  1. We are interested to know how to adjust red zone placement given recently implemented and pending mitigattion strategies of ring nets and debris basisns. While terrain has shifted, the re-vegitation of the our hillsides is happening quickly. What will be the process to incorporate all this into adjusting the debris flow risk map. That discussion between this committee, the county, Monteicito Fire and the Office of Emergency Management is important to our community.
  2. We also want to work with our state officials to help mitigate the exodus of insurance companies from our community.

The Montecito Association is also committed to your safety. This year, we’re making these terrific safety backpacks available as a gift with your renewal. The backpacks are full of great survival tools in case of emergency.

If you renewed your membership already, or you renew through the mail when you receive our renewal notice next week, please pop by our office Monday through Thursday between 9 AM and 2 PM, and pick one up! You can find us at 1469 East Valley Rd at the Montecito Library.

Quantities are limited, so it’s first come / first serve.

Emergency Backpacks


Last week we held our first Insurance Ad Hoc meeting to work on the debris risk flow map / red zones and insurance cancellations. Kevin Taylor from MFPD gave us a great overview all the science from the US Forest Service, US Geological Service, National Weather Service and ‘ground-truthing’ (walking about sites on the ground to assess them) that went into creating the map.

It was reassessed going into this past winter, updated, and published in Dec 2018. 400 properties were removed, another 190 added in, especially abutting and at the bottom of San Ysidro creek. Flow patterns had changed, and are continuing to change.

There will be another pre-winter assessment starting in August this year, when the Chaparral growing season ends. It’s expected more properties will be removed.

We’re also inside the 5 year window of high debris flow risk post-fire. The 1969 debris flow happened 5 years after the 1964 Coyote Fire. We have to be mindful of the danger to the community from high-intensity deluges, and there will be very little flexibility on redrawing the map to move someone’s property out at their request. Mitigation factors such as regrowth, the ring nets, the possibility of the Randall Rd Debris basin, and deeper (scoured) creek channels will be factored into this year’s redrawing of the map. We are looking to schedule the Randall Rd Debris Basin for you to learn more about it at our May Land Use Committee. If you live anywhere near San Ysidro Creek, this could positively affect you.

On the insurance front, we committed to surveying our community through various media to uncover the depth and breadth of the problem of cancellations / non-renewals. We are also inside yet another window, this one relating to the law Hannah Beth Jackson passed last year: no cancellations of policies up to one year after the disaster. We’ve just stepped outside that one year window, and as renewals come up, people are indeed getting cancelled. Insurers are looking at that map, though they’re supposed to be looking at FIRM (FEMA Flood Insurance Risk Map) for risk data. You can look at that map here:

Chief Hickman of MFPD met with executives from Chubb this week, and explained to them how the Thomas Fire stalled at the burn scar for the Tea Fire. We should be at incredibly low fire risk right now, which should encourage insurers to offer policies in this market. I’ve talked with insurers who confirm Lexington has departed the 93108 and 93013 zip codes. Scottsdale is offering insurance but at huge premium increases and with high deductibles. It looks like the market for surplus insurance is tightening quickly in California.

Look for our survey on insurance concerns soon, and please pop by into the office and pick up your backpack if you’ve renewed. If you want to renew electronically, and avoid the mail renewal, click the button here.