With business owners facing the ‘new normal’ of rising temperatures, public safety power shutoffs, Covid-19 and—on the West Coast—a seven-month wildfire season, property preparation is more critical than ever this year. To meet the myriad of challenges during unprecedented times, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) has teamed with the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I) to provide businesses with risk mitigation practices for safeguarding their employees and establishments. Chief among them are the specification of exterior wall cladding made of noncombustible siding materials such as concrete and brick.
As outlined in “Future Fires: Weathering the Fire Storm,” an Allianz report released this summer, 2019 was yet another catastrophic year for commerce with 46,786 wildfires burning more than 4.6 million acres, leading to the evacuation of over 200,000 people, sustained blackouts, and a state of emergency declaration. This year is shaping up to be yet another difficult one as wildfires blaze across drought-ridden Western states coupled with the risk of coronavirus, which has already reduced the overall number of available firefighters and is likely to remain well into the fall.
While several factors can be attributed to the increasing proliferation of wildfires each year—humans (accidentally or purposefully), equipment failure (power lines), weather volatility and extreme conditions, including high temperatures, low humidity, strong winds and high fuel loads (vegetation and structures)—improved risk mitigation techniques can help reduce the frequency and severity of wildfires and their subsequent effect on businesses, large and small, “Future Fires” authors contend.
“Allianz is committed to helping businesses mitigate extreme catastrophes with the most advanced techniques and solutions available,” says Allianz Risk Consulting Head of MidCorp Scott Steinmetz, P.E. “The 2020 fire season presents unique challenges and complexities that will inherently put our skills to their utmost test. I feel confident, however, that businesses can greatly minimize their losses with advance planning and close communication with their insurance carrier before, and in the unfortunate event that it occurs, during and after a wildfire.”
“Preparedness is as vital to an organization as business resilience planning,” adds Triple-I Director of Strategic Communications Janet Ruiz. “We recommend business owners review their insurance coverage to ensure they can adequately rebuild their properties as well as protect their business against major disruptions such as wildfire.” — Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty, www.agcs.allianz.com; Insurance Information Institute, www.iii.org