California Roundtable To Create Incentives for Disaster Preparation, Fire Mitigation

After bringing together insurance industry executives, consumer
groups and fire officials to discuss preparations for future potential
fire disasters at a roundtable held on May 12, 2008, California
Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner announced an effort to create
economic or other incentives for insurers and consumers to mitigate fire
risks and increase disaster preparedness.
“While we will never be able to stop fires before they start,
there are many common sense steps that we can take to keep fires from
becoming disasters, and we should do a better job encouraging people to
take these sensible steps,” Poizner said. “We all know that clearing
brush and vegetation near a house is important. We all know that homes
with wood shingle roofs are very difficult to save. We all know that
stucco or aluminum siding provide better protection than wood siding.
Today, all the participants have agreed to work together to create
incentives — possibly in the form of a discount on insurance premiums
— to promote the increased use of these fire mitigation and prevention
Additional topics covered at the roundtable included working
together to identify effective fire mitigation measures, the role of
property inspections and how to implement possible incentives to expand
preparation efforts. Over the next few months, representatives from the
groups at the roundtable will meet to discuss and produce a roadmap for
the creation of incentives to increase fire mitigation.
Joining Commissioner Poizner were representatives from AIG,
Allstate, Automobile Club of Southern California, California FAIR Plan,
California State Automobile Association, Farmers Insurance Group,
Fireman’s Fund, Safeco, State Farm Insurance Companies, the American
Insurance Association, the Personal Insurance Federation of California
and the Association of California Insurance Companies. Consumer groups
were represented by Amy Bach of United Policyholders and Ken Klein of
the Scripts Ranch Civic Association and a 2003 Cedar fire survivor.
Public safety officials rounded out the group with state Fire Marshall
Kate Dargan, George “YG” Gentry and Christopher Zimny of the state Board
of Forestry and Fire Protection, San Diego Fire Department Fire Chief
Tracy Jarman and San Bernardino Fire Department Division Chief Tim
Commissioner Poizner also encouraged Californians to take prudent
steps to prepare for a potential disaster, offering several tips for
homeowners. A home inventory guide is available through the DOI Web site
Source: CDI