MALIBU, Calif. — Two years ago the Woolsey Fire engulfed Malibu.
And Councilman Jefferson "Jay" Wagner, whose home was destroyed in the fire, is still going to battle with insurance companies for himself and hundreds of other Malibu residents.
"I'm the only elected person in the whole Malibu area and in the Woolsey Fire that lost their home", said Wagner.
But in the two-year aftermath of the Woolsey Fire, he's one of hundreds in Malibu who are experiencing issues with insurance and rebuilding.
Despite having full coverage, Wagner says his insurance through AllState was denied, and now he has an errors and omissions claim with them.
"When there's a payout due, don't decline the payout. Be a hero, pay out, get it over with, add it on to the premium in the next few years. And that's how I suspected it should work, but it does not work that way," said Wagner.
On November 5th, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara issued a mandatory one-year moratorium on insurance policy non-renewals or cancellations to residents living within or adjacent to a declared wildfire disaster.
The law was invoked for the first time in December for those affected by fires in 2019, and the latest moratorium for those affected by the 2020 fires.
But for those like Wagner, who are reeling from the Woolsey Fire from 2018, this law won't cover them.
"All I can do is hope that the Insurance Commissioner has the wherewithal and the expertise to sort these things out and get us covered and defend the little guy who pays all this money to make sure the big guy gets his paycheck too," said Wagner.
The Insurance Commissioner has visited Malibu a few times before COVID to meet with policyholders affected by Woolsey, and he will host an upcoming virtual workshop for residents on December 10th.
"It's slow but it's happening and you don't want to point fingers when people are trying. And that's what I see from Sacramento and from the Commissioner's office, 'hey we're trying,'" said Wagner.
While he'll be termed out of the Malibu City Council this year, Wagner hopes residents feel like they've had him in their corner as they're all in this together, but he does have hope for their collective future.
Wagner concluded, "It's going to work it's just going to take a couple of years. And I think people can appreciate that when they know they're not alone."
EDITOR'S NOTE: We reached out to Allstate (Wagner’s insurance provider) for comment about his insurance denial but have not heard back.