The Need for Community Resilience Is Stronger Than Ever Before
The following guest blog is provided by the Stronger California Coalition, of which CSAC is a member, authored by coalition members Mark Sektnan, Vice President of the American Property Casualty Insurance Association, and Rex Frazier, President of the Personal Insurance Federation of California.
The relentless threat of wildfire in California is not waning. Last summer, much of California lived under a cloud of smoke as some of the largest fires in history raged across the state. As we head into another dry summer and drought, it’s more important than ever that our communities are taking collective steps toward resiliency and homeowners are maintaining their insurance policies.
California devotes the month of May to raising awareness about the dangers of wildfires and steps we can take to be more resilient. We encourage local leaders to recognize Wildfire Awareness Month – there is no better time to inspire homeowner, regional and community preparedness.
While wildfire risk cannot be eliminated, communities can go a long way to mitigate their risk and, ultimately, reduce property damage. Doing so requires collective action from neighbors, firefighters, local and state leaders, and insurers coming together on comprehensive solutions.
In recent years, California has seen embers from powerful, wind-driven fires spread flames as far as a mile away. This unprecedented fire behavior is far different from the fires California faced even five years ago. To adapt to this new normal, comprehensive community and regional mitigation planning and projects are needed.
Even if a homeowner has taken steps to prevent wildfire at their home – such as maintaining defensible space, installing a fire-resistant deck or roofing material, installing attic and crawl space vents – their home may still be at risk if neighbors and the surrounding community do not do the same.
In addition to community-based mitigation, maintaining home insurance is critical to being wildfire prepared. Local leaders are a critical voice in reaching communities and educating homeowners in their region. We encourage sharing of these simple steps, which can make all the difference should disaster strike in the future:
- Keep a current inventory of the contents of your home.
- Complete an annual home insurance policy checkup to make sure your policy reflects the correct square footage and features in your home.
- Maintain insurance – this is important for both homeowners and renters!
- Update your policy to cover home improvements.
The need for community resilience is stronger than ever before, which is why insurers have invested in the Stronger CA Coalition and are partnering with California’s counties, cities, builders, fire safe councils and other stakeholders to support policies that help protect homes and lives.
For more information and resources for homeowners, visit strongerca.com/are-you-prepared/.