Protection from fire is on many homeowner’s minds across the country.
Over the previous two summers, California experienced the largest surge in wildfires in recorded history, affecting nearby states with severe air pollution and burning over 3.6 million acres in 2020 as well as another 2.6 million acres so far in 2021. This has led consumers to seek out the best coverage for their homes in the case of a wildfire and to ask more questions from their insurers to maintain protection on their homes.
WaterStreet Company offers P&C Insurance Solutions to help carriers and MGAs manage policy and claims administration, as well as customer support services and more.
Does homeowners insurance cover fire?
Wildfires are among the perils covered by most homeowner’s insurance. Coverage details vary by carrier on which personal items and property could be repaired or replaced in the case of fire damage.
Carriers can benefit from highlighting wildfire damage coverage and restrictions offered. Third-party solutions that integrate with WaterStreet Company can help give more context to geographical regions affected by wildfires, giving carriers more control to weigh risks and where to offer policies.
The Costs of Wildfires
As of August 19th 2021, The National Interagency Fire Center’s daily update has logged 104 large fires across 12 states with 16 large fires reporting extreme behavior the day prior.
The costs of wildfires are tough to estimate between the damage done to residents, businesses and government expenses. Reporting by Reuters estimated damage caused by 2020 wildfires may have reached as high as $13 billion. The total for 2021 continues to add up today with Idaho wildfire damage reaching $50 million before the end of wildfire season and is expected to double.
As current wildfires continue to burn and new ones appear, it’s difficult to estimate the total damage. For comparison, here are the top 5 costliest individual wildfires in US history according to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association, adjusted for 2021 dollars:
1. 2018: Camp Fire, CA – $10.6 billion
2. 2017: Tubbs Fire, CA – $9.4 billion
3. 2018: Wossley Fire, CA – $4.4 billion
4. 1991 Oakland Fire, CA – $3.3 billion
5. 2017: Atlas Fire, CA – $3.2 billion
Tips for Carriers & Wildfires
Homeowners experiencing wildfires quickly learn the severe costs of these catastrophic events. Losing a home goes in hand with losing many important possessions and the need to relocate for an extended period of time. This causes families major problems when it comes to sorting out how to file a claim with the insurer.
Carriers can benefit from offering information to the insured ahead of these damages. Consider notifying policyholders in high-risk regions of what to do in the case of a wildfire. Damages can quickly total, and it’s in the carrier’s best interest to understand the total costs soon after the event. The American Property Casualty Institute offers a step-by-step guide to walk policyholders through the claims process.
Carriers can help facilitate this process by sending their own checklist to keep policyholders on track with the steps required, and can even offer advice to policyholders for preparing before the damage hits. This brings a new level of customer service to the relationship between insurers and the insured. Consider the following for helping homeowners be prepared:
- Create a video of the inside of the home, showing property including furniture, electronics, jewelry, appliances, housewares, clothing, and any other possessions with monetary value.
- Make a list of these items with estimated values and keep receipts in a safe location.
- Take a video of the outside of the home, showing all areas including windows, doors, fences, and the roof if possible.
Livegenic, a WaterStreet Partner, offers a self inspection tool via integration to the WaterStreet Policy Administration System that can help the policyholder communicate video and images to the insurer. The remote virtual inspection app can be easily downloaded on the insured’s phone and connected directly to the carrier’s P&C Insurance Solution, keeping this vital information in one place for the carrier to review.
WaterStreet Company & Fire Coverage Carriers
Our cloud-based P&C Policy Administration Suite is designed with Document Management at its core. All documents related to the policyholder are stored for simple retrieval when needed, keeping your administrators in one unified solution whether it comes to claims administration, policy administration, billing, or reporting.
Third-party integrations are essential for many carriers to bring important and supportive data into the system. These integrations can help assess location risks, provide a history of weather patterns, offer more background information on a new policyholder, allow for self-inspections, and many other unique capabilities. WaterStreet Company solutions are built with a robust API to connect to any number of third-party integrations.
Reach out to WaterStreet Company today to request a consultation and demo of our solutions.