Should wildfire safety advocates be excited that we made the short list of an insurance publication's advice to businesses on top risks to watch in 2017? I think so, and here's why: for decades, the problem of structures burning down during wildfires simply has not been on insurers' list of things to worry about. Year after year, hail and wind top lists in the US and globally as catastrophic losses in terms of claims payout from property insurers. Those of us in the wildfire biz know that home destruction from wildfire is a growing problem and will continue due to past development practices, lack of application of design and construction standards, and climate and environmental conditions that make large, intense wildfires a relatively common occurrence. For business owners, a major, destructive wildfire threatens more than just buildings - the domino effect of evacuations, home destruction, closed roads and more can hamper the ability for employees to get to work and for customers to do business as usual.
According to an article aimed at businesses by Duncan Ellis in Property Casualty 360, an e-publication serving the insurance industry, those in charge of buying property insurance to cover their exposures should be concerned about emerging risks, topped by the threat of wildfire. The feature includes an image of destruction from Gatlinburg, Tennessee, where indeed businesses including resorts and rental properties were destroyed, damaged or compromised. The article included the infographic below and provides some sensible tips for business owners and employees to ensure safety and business continuity.