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Advice for businesses on protecting properties from wildfire impacts

Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty has teamed up with the Insurance Information Institute to provide businesses with advice to help safeguard their buildings and facilities from wildfires.

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.

Some of the direct 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 Insurance Information Institute, 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 pre-treatment 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.

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.
  • Mitigation solutions and fire protection services.
  • Precautionary measures that can be taken today to prevent loss tomorrow.

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