What role can insurance brokers play in forest fire risk mitigation?

Emergency Management BC said on September 1 that the number of burning forest fires remained stable around 225. Meanwhile, the number of properties on evacuation orders on September 1 was 3,537 (down 217 from the previous day), and 6,051 other properties were on alert (down 22 from the previous day). ).

Read more : Forest fires in Canada: what causes them?

Hard work doesn’t stop when forest fires are brought under control. With increasing exposure to forest fires due to climate change, continued urban development at the forest-urban interface, and historic forest management practices, people are in greater urgency than ever to strengthen their management procedures. forest fire risk management. Insurance brokers can help their clients in this regard, according to Markham Sandulak (pictured), senior risk control consultant at CNA.

“Brokers can help their clients mitigate the impacts of wildfire exposure in several ways by increasing client awareness and understanding of wildfire exposure through education and employment. carrier risk control resources, ”he said. “Brokers and insurance companies can help clients understand exposure to wildfires through a physical site examination or by providing self-assessment tools to assess exposure to wildfires. and susceptibility to loss.

“For business customers, the consequences of wildfires extend beyond the threat of property damage,” Sandulak added. “Businesses need to consider the legal responsibility for worker / public safety, as well as the potential for business disruption and loss of business income. “

As such, Sandulak said business entities must have emergency response plans that take into account: methods of communicating with their employees, emergency responders and the community; escape routes and assembly points; relocation of mobile assets; transfer of operational controls; and stopping production processes and isolating equipment.

“Business continuity plans should also be reviewed periodically to ensure that contacts, contracts, suppliers and alternate locations are up to date and available,” he added. “Critical documentation and records need to be stored offsite either physically or electronically. “

Read more: SGI anticipates major claims following recent hailstorm

The same precautions apply to residential customers, but are “scaled down to reflect their situation,” Sandulak noted. “Owners should ensure that their emergency contact details and their communication with household members are known before an emergency to ensure that the evacuation can be carried out quickly,” he said. “In both cases – commercial and residential – brokers and clients can leverage the resources of community planning and insurance companies to assist with risk reduction and emergency planning activities.

Brokers, insurance companies and their clients can also use the technology to help manage and monitor wildfire risks. Sandulak explained, “Technological developments provide tools for forest fire management agencies to define hazard risk exposures, early detection of hot spots and hazard communication to fire crews and communities. Forest fire risk maps are produced regularly to support fire management teams and educate the public. Weather monitoring is factored into fire management plans both upstream and during forest fires. Advances in fire detection and monitoring enable early detection and aid in asset allocation, positioning and evacuation planning.

“The biggest technological impact is improving personal communication and the interconnectivity of our communities, which facilitates the dissemination of information to a wider audience. “

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