Your insurance agent may need a hug after dealing with the new wildfire mapping guidelines.
Since the movie stars and writer’s guild are on strike, I’ll take the liberty to add a little satire to the situation:
Agent: “We need to move your home insurance from company A to company B because Eagle Mountain/Saratoga Springs/Lehi/ABC City is a high wildfire area”
Customer: Are you serious? There are no trees in Eagle Mountain.
Agent: Yes, I know, I am from Utah and have seen Eagle Mountain develop. The company still feels your home is located in a high wildfire area.
Customer: They must have lost their minds.
Agent: It’s actually the underwriters for the reinsurance companies that have lost their minds.
Customer: What’s an underwriter and what’s a reinsurance company?
Agent: An underwriter assesses risk and feels your home is in a high wildfire area.
A reinsurance company insures the smaller insurance companies, they are some of the biggest entities in the world. Warren Buffet owns several reinsurance companies, and some are overseas. Reinsurance is like insurance insuring insurance which spreads the risk around so no one company takes a big hit in the event of a large catastrophe.
Customer: Interesting, I had no idea more than one company could be insuring my home.
My home is less than five years old, the trees haven’t even grown yet.
Agent: Yes, I know, in addition to Google Street View and Google Earth we have recent aerial photos and we can see there are no trees close to your home.
Customer: Then why is my current company canceling my policy?
Agent: The reinsurance company underwriters have lost their minds, it’s the only logical explanation.
This unfortunately has become a daily occurrence in our office and while I have added a little humor, it’s not far from the truth. We work with many great companies, large and small, and all of them have adopted wildfire mapping which makes sense in about 10% of the cases but in the other 90%, it makes no sense at all. These are typically new homes, with new landscaping, not close to any canyons or what you would think of as traditional wildfire areas. Nevertheless, they score high for wildfires and it can be more challenging to insure in these areas.
Since I previously mentioned the movies, I will liken it to the classic, The Wizard of Oz. Somewhere behind many curtains, there is a reinsurance wizard calling the shots on the wildfire areas and we don’t understand a lot of what the wizard is doing. To this day, no one has given me the wizard’s phone number and we have not reached the end of the yellow brick road, so we really don’t know who is pulling the ropes.
In the wizards and the insurance company’s defense, there has been an increase in wildfires in recent years. For years folks have built homes where they should not have, Suncrest is a good example. Global warming has extended the fire seasons and “thrown a lot more fuel on the fire” if you will.
Please be patient with your insurance agent as they navigate new wildfire mapping guidelines, it’s not been fun for anyone.
At Anderson Insurance Group, we feel very fortunate. We represent many good companies that have given us viable homeowners insurance options in areas that other companies are restricting. Call, email or click for more information on the best options for your homeowners and rental property insurance coverage.
Anderson Insurance Group – Salt Lake City – Utah – 801-262-1551