Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Insurance Industry Perspective on Wildland Fires

In New Mexico, fire officials are bracing for another nasty round of wildfires that have plagued the southwest for the last five years.  In the insurance industry, they too are preparing by dropping residents from their insurance roles who choose to live in the Wildland Urban Interface or WUI.

"Insurance companies really do expect homeowners that live in these higher-risk areas to share that risk" says Executive Director Carole Walker of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association.  Making homeowners more responsible has been the buzz in California as well, with legislators calling for a special property tax to cover the future costs of fire protection in the WUI.  I must agree with Ms. Walker and also add that in my 30 years plus of firefighting, I cannot think of a more helpless feeling, other than losing a child to trauma or health issues, than seeing someones house burn to the ground and there is nothing you can do about it.

However, there is something you as a homeowner can do about it.  First, find out what your insurance carrier requires for you to stay insured and enjoy lower premiums at the same time.  "It's that pocket-book incentive of getting and keeping affordable insurance that's really going to get people often times to do the right thing and protect their property" explains Walker.  Second, clear a defensible space around your property and keep it that way.  "If your unwilling to make a defensible space around your property, you're living in a high-risk area, you're too high of a risk for us to insure," said Ms. Walker.

The drumbeat here at Crosshair Fire Investigations and Safety Consultants is the same as the National Fire Protection Association, "Keep you landscape lean, clean and green".  For more information on how to protect your family and property from the ravages of fire, contact you local fire department or fire protection specialist. 

Fire Season Will Be Fast Upon Us, Don't Wait Before It's Too Late!

Always watching out for your safety,

Paul M Sprague, CFEI

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