NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With the 2019 wildfire season upon us, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) has teamed up with the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) to provide businesses with risk mitigation practices to safeguard their establishments.
2018 was a catastrophic year for wildfires and, as commercial development expands into forests and grasslands, the odds of wildfire-related property damage continue to escalate.
While there are several factors which lead to wildfires – humans (accidentally or purposefully), 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 effects on businesses, large and small.
According to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimates, more than 40 percent of U.S. small businesses do not reopen after a disaster such as a wildfire. An additional 25 percent that do reopen, close their doors over the following two years. Some of the direct and devastating impacts from the effects of wildfires on businesses include:
- Property loss. Businesses that own buildings in the path of a wildfire are impacted. Even if the property is rented, business’ physical location will be disrupted when faced with either an evacuation or a move to a new venue.
- Equipment loss. Any equipment within a wildfire’s reach is at risk.
- Vulnerable Industries. Agriculture, destination wineries, ranching and forestry could have their entire livelihoods threatened by wildfires.
- Business Interruption/Contingent Interruption/Supply Chain. Whether a business is in a wildfire-prone area or relies on vendors, or has suppliers or customers who are, any fire should be considered a threat to its operations.
According to Allianz and the I.I.I., business owners should take the following steps to safeguard employees and property from wildfire:
- Establish and maintain a 5-foot “no-burn zone” around every business’ property so that nothing can ignite. Defensible space provides crucial protection against wildfire.
- Clear brush and relocate flammable materials away from combustible construction materials.
- Consider the application of fire-fighting foam (both pretreatment and suppression) around business’ property or on combustible building materials. Utilize wildfire-resistant building materials.
- Develop an employee safety plan in the event of a wildfire.
- Have a business continuity plan in place.
“We are dedicated to helping businesses mitigate extreme catastrophes like wildfires with the most advanced techniques and solutions available,” says Scott Steinmetz, Global Head of Risk Control, MidCorp, AGCS. “Innovative approaches are a part of the new frontier in proactive mitigation response and risk awareness, property resiliency and true customer service.”
Business owners should further discuss with their insurance professional the following key points as it pertains to wildfire:
- Their current policy coverage (what it does and does not cover).
- The various types of coverages available to protect their business and business interruption.
- The myriad of highly effective mitigation solutions and innovative fire protection services.
- Precautionary measures that can be taken today to prevent loss tomorrow.
“Financial preparedness is as vital to an organization as business resilience planning,” said Loretta Worters, Vice President of Media Relations for the Insurance Information Institute. “We recommend business owners review their insurance coverage to ensure they can adequately rebuild their properties as well as protect their business against disruptions.”
About Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty
Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) is a leading global corporate insurance carrier and a key business unit of Allianz Group. We provide risk consultancy, Property-Casualty insurance solutions and alternative risk transfer for a wide spectrum of commercial, corporate and specialty risks across 12 dedicated lines of business.
Our customers are as diverse as business can be, ranging from Fortune Global 500 companies to small businesses, and private individuals. Among them are not only the world’s largest consumer brands, tech companies and the global aviation and shipping industry, but also wineries, satellite operators or Hollywood film productions. They all look to AGCS for smart answers to their largest and most complex risks in a dynamic, multinational business environment and trust us to deliver an outstanding claims experience.
Worldwide, AGCS operates with its own teams in 34 countries and through the Allianz Group network and partners in over 200 countries and territories, employing over 4,400 people. As one of the largest Property-Casualty units of Allianz Group, we are backed by strong and stable financial ratings. In 2018, AGCS generated a total of €8.2 billion gross premium globally.
For more information, please visit http://www.agcs.allianz.com/ or follow us on Twitter @AGCS_Insurance and LinkedIn. Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
About the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.)
Established in 1960, the I.I.I. is the premier independent resource on property/casualty and life insurance. Created to educate consumers about the benefits and economic value insurance provides, the I.I.I. supports its audiences with timely and objective news, research and thought leadership to make insurance more accessible and useful.
For more information, please visit the I.I.I.’s website at https://www.iii.org/ or follow us on Twitter @III and LinkedIn.