Too Much Information: California Residents Complain About Wildfire Maps

After writing recently about the predictive modeling now being done by Pitney Bowes Software and Anchor Point Group for the emerging risk of wildfires in this country (and an informative Webinar on the subject), I was amused to see the following headline in the Orange County Register: “Residents worry new fire maps mean higher insurance rates.”

It’s not exactly Jay Leno material, but I’m sure it brought a few smiles to the faces of some insurance underwriters whose job it is to accurately rate risks such as wildfires.

No one wants to see an increase in their homeowners’ rates and insurersdon’t enjoy having to pay for off a claim when a home burns to the ground, but that’s what the world of insurance is all about.

The good news for insurers is wildfire maps and predictive modeling are making it easier to underwrite this risk accurately using a number of data points that go beyond the older method of judging the vegetation—fuel for the wildfire—in a particular area.

Californialaw requires fire officials to periodically update fire hazard maps, according to the Register, using the latest data, science and technology. What worries residents are the impact maps have on their homeowners’ policies and whether insurers will continue to offer coverage in fire-prone areas.

"It's definitely going to limit the competition because right now, where my home is situated, it's on the sort of top side of the toll road," one resident tells the Register. "We have vegetation at the back slope area. There are a lot of homeowners’ policy writers that will not write because we are on the slope. My question is how many additional homeowners’ insurers will not write because we are going to be in a very high fire hazard (zone)."

Californiaresidents know more about wildfires than some blogger in the Midwest, but it doesn’t take a genius to compare what is going on inCaliforniaand other wildfire areas today to whatFloridaresidents first went through when wind models were first introduced.

No one likes insurance until they need it. The day models can be run to predict tornado models in theOhioValley, I’ll be as interested as anyone to see if my home on top of a big hill is more at risk than my neighbors halfway up the hill.

But I learned one important fact about having homeowners insurance 22 years ago when a tornado struck my home: I can never replace what my insurance carrier did for me when my house was destroyed. Trust me, my homeowner premiums have been a bargain, even 22 years later.

About the Author
Robert Regis Hyle, PropertyCasualty360.com

Robert Regis Hyle, PropertyCasualty360.com

Robert Regis Hyle is editor-in-chief of Tech Decisions magazine and technology channel editor for PropertyCasualty360.com. He has spent over three decades as a journalist for a variety of business and regional news publications including a stint with a weekly newspaper that he owned and operated. He has been with Tech Decisions since the magazine’s inception in 1999 and has written articles on virtually every issue and trend facing insurance IT professionals. Prior to joining Tech Decisions, he spent two years as editor of a sister publication, The Ohio Underwriter, where he covered insurance topics for the agency and carrier markets. He has spoken on insurance technology issues at various industry conferences such as IASA and ACORD LOMA and on a number of web seminars. He is a graduate of Xavier University in Cincinnati with a degree in Communication Arts. Hyle may be reached at rhyle@sbmedia.com

Comments

Resource Center

View All »

Integrated Content & Communications: A Key Business Issue For Insurers

Insurers are renewing their focus on top line growth, and many are learning that growth...

High Risk Insurance Coverage in the E&S Market

Experts discuss market conditions, trends and projected growth in a rapidly changing niche.

Top E-Signature Security Requirements

This white paper covers the most important security features to look for when evaluating e-signatures...

EPLI Programs Crafted Just For Your Clients

Bring us your restaurant clients, associations and other groups and we’ll help you win more...

Is It Time To Step Up And Own An Agency?

Download this eBook for insight on how to determine if owning an agency is right...

Claims - The Good The Bad And The Ugly

Fraudulent claims cost the industry and the public thousands of dollars in losses. This article...

Leveraging BI for Improved Claims Performance and Results

If claims organizations do not avail themselves of the latest business intelligence (BI) tools, they...

Top 10 Legal Requirements for E-Signatures in Insurance

Want to make sure you’ve covered all your bases when adopting e-signatures? Learn how to...

Get $100 in leads with $0 down!

NetQuote's detailed, real-time leads have boosted sales for thousands of successful local agents across the...

The Growing Role of Excess & Surplus Lines in Today’s...

The excess and surplus market (E&S) provides coverage when standard insurance carriers cannot or will...

Tech Digest eNewsletter

Technology related insights for insurance professionals including key developments, solution providers and news briefs from the carrier front – FREE. Sign Up Now!

Advertisement. Closing in 15 seconds.