Wildfires continue to threaten communities, ecosystems, and economies worldwide. With the increased risk and frequency of catastrophic weather events, the continuous need to reassess and update models has challenged insurance professionals, especially those writing policies in high-risk fire zones. Rising costs have resulted in many insurers increasing premiums, or pulling out of certain markets entirely. As litigation increases due to these events, social inflation, the potential for nuclear verdicts, and changes in society’s attitude about who should be held responsible also contribute to rising insurance costs.
The National Interagency Fire Center publishes the ‘National Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook’ report on the first of every month. In its October edition, the report revealed that the national fire preparedness level was raised from three to four (on a scale of one to five) on Aug. 17, 2023. According to the same report, as of Sept. 26, 2023, a total of 388,787 acres burned in 2023 across 10 states. This is 38% of the 10-year average.