July 25, 2016

California Passes Storefront Protection Law

California State Capitol
Source: assembly.ca.gov

AB2161, written and championed by California State Assemblyman Bill Quirk (D-20), passed the Assembly and the Senate with no dissenting votes, and was signed into law July 22 by Governor Jerry Brown. The new law makes California the first state in the U.S. to encourage through statute the use of protective or safety barriers at vulnerable locations including parking lots, retail centers, office buildings and restaurants.

The law "provides that the use of certain vehicle barriers at a commercial property may be considered by insurers as safety devices that qualify for a discount on the owner's insurance premiums," explained Storefront Safety Council Co-Founder Rob Reiter. "Prior to adoption of the appropriate standards by the California Building Standards Commission, the new law defines an appropriate barrier as a device 'that is installed to protect persons located within, in, or on the property of, buildings, or to protect pedestrians, from collisions into those buildings by motor vehicles'."

Assemblyman Quirk
Assemblyman Quirk worked on the bill for two years, with support from Reiter and stakeholders, and with staff support from Legislative Assistant Miranda Flores in the 2016 term and from Dr. Scott Sellars, 2014-2015 Science and Technology Policy Fellow in the California State Legislature, during the 2015 term. The full text of the bill and the legislative counsel's digest is available online, and is reprinted below:

Assembly Bill No. 2161
CHAPTER 73

An act to add Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 11895) to Part 3 of Division 2 of the Insurance Code, relating to parking lots.

[Approved by Governor July 22, 2016. Filed with Secretary of State July 22, 2016.]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST
AB 2161, Quirk. Parking lots: design: insurance discount.
Existing law provides that building standards shall be filed by the California Building Standards Commission with the Secretary of State and codified only after they have been approved by the commission. Existing law regulates the issuance and renewal of liability insurance policies in this state.
This bill would authorize an insurer to consider the installation of vehicle barriers as a safety measure and would authorize an insurer to provide or offer a discount on the property owner’s insurance covering damage or loss to the covered commercial property or liability arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of the commercial property relative to the reduced risk of installation of the barriers. The bill would require that any discounts be determined to be actuarially sound and approved by the Insurance Commissioner prior to their use.

DIGEST KEY
Vote: majority Appropriation: no Fiscal Committee: no Local Program: no

BILL TEXT
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

    SECTION 1. Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 11895) is added to Part 3 of Division 2 of the Insurance Code, to read:
    CHAPTER 6. Commercial Property Parking Lots: Vehicle Barrier Discount
    11895. (a) An insurer may consider the installation of vehicle barriers as a safety measure and may provide or offer a discount on the property owner’s insurance covering damage or loss to the covered commercial property or liability arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of the commercial property relative to the reduced risk to the property as a result of installation of the barriers if the discount provided or offered is provided or offered consistent with Article 10 (commencing with Section 1861.01) of Chapter 9 of Part 2 of Division 1.
    (b) For the purposes of this section, a vehicle barrier is a safety device that meets, at a minimum, the vehicle impact protection standards as provided by the State Fire Marshal and adopted by the California Building Standards Commission and that is installed to protect persons located within, in, or on the property of, buildings, or to protect pedestrians, from collisions into those buildings by motor vehicles.
    (c) Any discounts on insurance provided in accordance with this section shall be determined to be actuarially sound and approved by the commissioner prior to their use.


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