Insurance can be complicated. It is often something which lies beneath the surface of our everyday lives; there when you need it but without requiring much active thought. Unfortunately, when wildfire impacts a community, insurance and insurance coverage quickly become critical. We have compiled a round-up of resources which can help consumers and practitioners navigate the insurance process.

Resources

The Insurance Information Institute
The Insurance Information Institute is a non-profit organization focused on providing information to insurance consumers.  The III provides information, tailored to wildfire, about the kinds of coverage you may need as well as tips for those who need to make a wildfire claim. The III also completed an overview of wildfire insurance and recovery resources as well as provides a basic primer on different types of coverage.  As an example, not all policies automatically cover the expenses incurred if you have to live away from your home while it is being repaired or rebuilt.  This article, from Forbes, also provides a general overview for insurance specific to wildfire.
Best for: Consumers looking to understand the basics of homeowners insurance policies. 

 

State-Level Insurance Departments
State-level insurance departments may provide additional, state-specific resources for insurance consumers.  The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) maintains a comprehensive list of state departments that can help you locate the agency working with insurance in your state. Some states, like Washington and California, maintain wildfire-specific resources as well and most states have support resources available for consumers. Some states, such as New Mexico and Colorado, issue notices, advisories, or fire-specific information for consumers which can contain important information related to recent wildfires. Some states, like Idaho, have created post-disaster claims guides to help those impacted by disasters navigate insurance processes.  The NAIC also maintains a glossary of insurance terms which can help consumers better understand the insurance system.
Best for: Consumers looking for location-specific information and support or practitioners looking to identify where to go for state-specific insurance information. 

 

Special Report – Willis Towers Watson and The Nature Conservancy
The Wildfire Resilience Insurance: Quantifying the Risk Reduction of Ecological Forestry with Insurance report, published by Willis Towers Watson and The Nature Conservancy models the impact of forest restoration on insurance rates.
Best for: Those looking to understand the potential for ecological forestry to reduce insurance premiums. 

 

WA State FAC Learning Group and WA Office of the Insurance Commissioner
Demystifying Insurance for Wildfires Resource Guide (Washington State Fire Adapted Communities Learning Group and Washington Office of the Insurance Commissioner): This three-page handout and related webinar helps Washington residents understand the business of insurance and provides tips and resources to help navigate the system.  While focused on Washington State, many of the tools and resources shared are broadly applicable.
Best for: Washington State residents, practitioners looking for a model of insurance-based communication and partnership.

 

Completing a Home Inventory
Home inventories, completed in advance of disaster, can help residents document the contents of their home, determine an adequate level of insurance coverage, and, in the event of a loss, document the loss to support your insurance claim.  Home inventories can be simple, completed in a variety of ways (including by video), or app-based (such as this one from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners).
Best for: Everyone.  

 

Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR)
Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) Plans can provide insurance coverage to those individuals who are unable to acquire insurance through the traditional market (typically due to their level of risk).  Coverage through FAIR Plans is typically handled at the state-level.  You can find your state’s FAIR Plan here.
Best for: Those who cannot acquire insurance coverage through the traditional market, typically due to high risk. 

 

For Business Owners
Don’t forget about your business!  Wildfires can cause direct damage to your facility as well as create a significant disruption to your business itself.  The Insurance Information Institute identifies things businesses can do, in advance of a wildfire event, to support their recovery (and meet their insurance needs).
Best for: Business owners

 

Additional Resources from the FAC Net blog archives:

Wildfire Insurance 101: What Practitioners and Policy Owners Need to Know

Insurance and Wildfire: An Interview with Carole Walker, Part 1

Insurance and Wildfire: An Interview with Carole Walker, Part 2

 

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