Boosting Resilience to U.S. Wildfires Should Be Insurance Industry Priority: I.I.I.

Nearly a year after the deadliest and costliest wildfire in U.S. history, insurers and the customers they cover are revisiting how to reduce their collective exposure to this risk, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).

“While our research has been in the works for the last year because of California’s catastrophic wildfires in 2017 and 2018, the wildfires we’ve seen in recent weeks makes these findings all too real and timely,” said Sean Kevelighan, CEO, I.I.I. “The increased severity of these wildfires stems in part from too many people residing in harm’s way. Builders and residents need to focus on how to be more resilient, or reconsider altogether whether to place homes in certain areas.”

The Camp Fire, which began on Nov. 8, 2018, killed 85 people and caused $8.47 billion in insured losses in Butte County, said the I.I.I, quoting statistics from the California Department of Insurance (DOI).

The insured loss dollar figure represents the payouts to customers as of May 2019 from the 28,118 auto, residential, and commercial property insurance claims generated from the Camp Fire event.

However, the I.I.I. estimated the Camp Fire’s insured auto, residential, and commercial property insurance claim payouts will total anywhere from $8.5 billion to $10.5 billion, when all Camp Fire-related claims are paid.

“Building codes that incorporate fire-resilient construction, such as fire-resistive roofs, can help protect new housing stock from wildfire damage,” the I.I.I. said in a new white paper, titled “Fighting Wildfires with Innovation,” which cites the insurance industry’s support for groups like Stronger California, which is a coalition of homeowners’ insurance companies.

“For example, an analysis found that 51 percent of houses in Paradise, California built with the state’s updated 2008 building codes survived the 2018 Camp Fire; in contrast, only 18 percent of houses without the updated building codes survived,” said the white paper…
Source: Insurance Information Institute


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