Montecito Association Meets
At this month’s Montecito Association Board of Directors meeting, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Lieutenant Butch Arnoldi reported that Pierre Lafond Market in the Upper Village was broken into earlier this week, in a similar fashion as a burglary that occurred in July. Both glass doors were broken, and suspects removed cash registers and quickly fled the scene. Deputies were on scene within three minutes of the security company’s call, but the suspects were gone.
“It just shows you how quickly these people can get in and out,” Lieutenant Arnoldi said.
Arnoldi also reported multiple DUIs in Montecito, a burglary at the Rosewood Miramar, residential burglary on Edgecliff Lane, and a situation at Ty Warner’s property on Channel Drive in which a mentally ill individual who had committed several crimes in Santa Barbara crashed a stolen car into the gates of the estate and fled on foot. There have also been a handful of DUI arrests in Montecito in the last month.
During Community Reports, Montecito Water District GM Nick Turner reported that community-wide conservation is improving. He also reported that the District’s Smart Meter program is in full swing, and that all customer water meters have been replaced, which is a great advancement for the District in providing accurate usage data. Turner also noted that November marks the District’s 100th anniversary. Montecito Sanitary District GM Brad Rahrer reported that the MSD Board voted to phase out the District’s sewer lateral rebate program at the end of the year. Residents who are seeking to have a portion of their sewer lateral repairs reimbursed should contact the District as soon as possible to be able to be included in the program.
MUS superintendent Anthony Ranii and CSS superintendent Dr. Amy Alzina reported that they are working with Vons in Montecito to host on-campus vaccine clinics in the coming weeks to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to students aged 5-11 and to parents who wish to be vaccinated.
The Association hosted HomeServices Insurance broker Teresa Leung,who explained why many residents in Montecito are not able to get their homeowners’ insurance renewed by their insurance companies. With insurance companies trying to reduce their risk throughout California, many homeowners are finding themselves back in the market for insurance, and are faced with high premiums and less coverage. Insurance companies are not able to raise rates more than 9% per year, so their answer oftentimes is to not renew existing policies. Leung reported that $20 billion has been paid by insurance companies in the last three years in California for fire claims. “Insurance is a business, and they are not in the business to write checks to their customers,” she said.
Companies including Chub, AIG, and Nationwide, among others, are no longer writing policies in our area, and some are not writing throughout the West Coast.
“They’ve decided California is not a good fit for them, with the brush hazards. Insurance companies don’t like the lush landscaping and all the trees that make Montecito beautiful,” she said. Most companies have created their own software to determine the risk of a property. Part of the calculation is past insurance claims on behalf of both the buyer as well as the property in the last five years. Smaller homes are easier to insure, and current rates that are used to calculate rebuild cost is $800 per square foot. The software also calculates distance to the nearest fire station.
Many homeowners are finding success with the California FAIR Plan, which is a Los Angeles-based association comprised of all insurers authorized to transact basic property insurance in California. Coverage is available to all California property owners, as long as required guidelines are met (there are limits on vacant homes and homes with existing damage). Because FAIR coverage is capped at $3 million, voluntary insurance companies are offering special subsidy programs that will provide for excess coverage.
“It’s not always doom and gloom when it comes to insurance, because there is money to be made and someone else will come in and serve the community,” Leung said.
The Montecito Association sent out an insurance survey earlier this week to glean info on residents’ experience with homeowners’ insurance. The data will be used for future discussions on insurance woes.
The next Board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, December 14. To learn more, visit www.montecitoassociation.org.