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Strategies to Protect Your Business from Wildfires

By Alliant

Wildfires pose a significant risk to both people and property. Recent statistics from the National Interagency Coordination Center reveal that six of the top ten largest wildfire seasons have occurred within the past decade alone. With the increase in wildfires, it becomes essential for businesses to implement a proactive approach in order to avoid significant damage to and/or interruption of business.

Develop a Proactive Plan

Creating a well-defined plan is crucial for both business protection and claim management. Establish protocols for relocating individuals to designated emergency locations, ensuring business continuity and communicating effectively with employees and partners.

Work with Professionals

Work with professionals to identify and maintain access to water sources, like fire hydrants and water storage tanks. Verify that your site entrances are large enough to accommodate emergency vehicles. Additionally, consult trusted insurance professionals to review the extent of coverage and policy limitations.

Formulate a Specialized Wildfire Team

Train a team dedicated to performing necessary safety actions in the event of a wildfire. Set clear parameters for initiating or halting different phases of your wildfire action plan. This team can also assist with documenting damage for insurance claims.

Stay Informed and Document:

Monitor local news media to track wildfires and potential threats to your business and employees. Maintain detailed documentation of all communication with insurers and adjusters, including policy conditions and claim-related discussions.

Maintain Building and Conduct Regular Inspections:

Ensure that a minimum of 25 feet of open space separates buildings from tall grassy areas. Additionally, maintain a minimum of 200 feet of open space between buildings and forested regions. Opt for landscaping materials that are nonflammable, including stone, rock, brick, and concrete. Take measures to protect the exterior surfaces of your buildings. Implement flame-resistant or noncombustible materials on exterior walls. Arrange for regular inspections of your premises to identify exposures and address them promptly. Consult licensed contractors to estimate the cost of rebuilding or repairing your property accurately.

Claim Preparation and Rebuilding:

Should your business incur significant damage to and/or interruption of business as a result of a wildfire, the following post-loss guidelines can assist with the claims recovery process:

  • Secure and ensure safety of employees / colleagues

  • Activate Loss Recovery Team, which should include as appropriate:
    • Dedicated Team Leader;
    • Risk Manager and financial department colleagues (CFO/Controller);
    • Accounting staff;
    • Facilities management;
    • Outside broker;
    • Forensic accounting / claim preparation consultant; and
    • Construction cost and schedule consultant.

  • Identify, photograph, and document the scope of the loss while preserving any damaged items

  • Develop scope of repair estimates with vendors or internally.

  • Track and document customer inquiries, cancelled orders, potential delayed events that drive revenue generation or create added cost, and other lost sales or loss event costs.

  • Communicate with broker, consultant, carrier, and adjuster to establish a claims process, including the immediate next steps.

Insurance Considerations

In addition to the various precautions that you should take in-house, you should also have adequate insurance coverage to protect against losses. Contact your broker to review the coverages that are right for you.

Claim Preparation and Recovery

Should you need claim preparation assistance, Imperium Consulting assists organizations with the assessment of loss impacts, quantification of business interruption and time element costs, scope and cost calculations for property damage, forensic scheduling for time element losses and expert claim documentation to maximize and expedite available insurance and third-party recoveries.

By implementing proactive strategies to protect against wildfires, businesses can mitigate potential damages and ensure a smoother recovery process.

For more information, please reach out to your Alliant Account Manager.

Alliant note and disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance. Please note that prior to implementation your legal counsel should review all details or policy information. Alliant Insurance Services does not provide legal advice or legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please seek the services of your own legal advisor, or ask Alliant Insurance Services for a referral. This document is provided on an “as is” basis without any warranty of any kind. Alliant Insurance Services disclaims any liability for any loss or damage from reliance on this document.