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April 19, 2023

House Advances Property Insurance of Last Resort, Pathways for Thermal Energy Technology

DENVER, CO – The House today advanced legislation on a preliminary vote to support Coloradans seeking homeowners insurance in wildfire prone areas and promote the development of clean, thermal energy technology.

“Wildfires are becoming more frequent and destructive in Colorado, and we need to ensure our neighbors and communities are protected,” said Speaker Julie McCluskie, D-Dillon, sponsor of HB23-1288. “Through this legislation, we’re creating a FAIR insurance plan especially for Coloradans living in wildfire prone areas to insure their homes, businesses and livelihood. Property owners are already struggling to find insurance, and we are hearing from constituents that some may not be able to purchase insurance at all. We’re committed to doing everything we can to help property owners insure their structures as climate change continues to drive increasingly destructive natural disasters.” 

“In Colorado, we’re taking big steps to not only mitigate wildfires, but make it possible for homeowners in disaster prone areas to purchase property insurance,” said Rep. Judy Amabile, D-Boulder, sponsor of HB23-1288. “Unfortunately, many homeowners living in wildfire or flood prone areas are struggling to purchase insurance that will protect their home or business – this legislation fixes that by creating the FAIR insurance plan. We need to prepare for potential impacts to the insurance market from the next big fire, and our bill steps up to fill potential gaps in insurance coverage so Coloradans always have an option to insure their properties.”

Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) Plan Association: HB23-1288 would create a nonprofit, unincorporated legal entity, to ensure Coloradans with homes and commercial properties located in wildfire zones can receive homeowners or commercial insurance. As destructive wildfires become more frequent in residential areas, many Coloradans struggle to find a private insurer that will cover their property at all. This bill would make sure Coloradans can find a carrier to insure their homes and commercial spaces as wildfires grow in frequency and destruction across Colorado.

Thermal energy heating and cooling systems are already being used across Colorado, and this bill creates a pathway so more Coloradans and businesses can take advantage of this cost-saving technology,” said Rep. Sheila Lieder, D-Littleton, sponsor of HB23-1252. “This legislation would make it easier to develop, expand and deploy clean, reliable thermal energy technology, creating good paying  jobs, saving money on energy bills and helping to improve our air quality.”

“Thermal energy is the heat beneath our feet, and it can play an important role in reducing our reliance on fossil fuels,” said Rep. Cathy Kipp, D-Fort Collins, sponsor of HB23-1252. “Our legislation works to expand avenues for thermal energy technologies in homes and businesses across the state, saving Coloradans’ money and creating new jobs in emerging fields. Attracting and adopting clean technologies like thermal energy is key to helping Colorado reach its climate goals.”

Including Thermal Energy As A Clean Heat Resource: HB23-1252 would continue Colorado’s work to reduce emissions from gas utilities by providing a pathway for wider adoption of thermal energy as a clean heat resource. This bill aims to assist in the transition away from expensive fuel commodities like natural gas and lower utility costs for Coloradans.

Thermal energy systems heat and cool buildings by circulating non-combustible fluids through a pipe network. Defining thermal energy as a clean heat resource allows the state to expand its usage, create new job opportunities, decrease greenhouse gas emissions and save Coloradans money on their utility bills.

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