The Friday Five: Week of October 28, 2019

by Jen Smoldt on October 31, 2019


If you care about what’s happening in the world of property and casualty (P&C), then this is the place to be. Each week, we serve up a bite-size roundup of the latest news, hot topics, and (admittedly subjective) tidbits to keep curious insurance professionals, like you, in-the-know.

Quote of the Week:

“Fire is a contagion phenomenon—its power comes from its ability to spread. We are creating a fire age that will be equivalent to the Ice Age. The reckoning is here, and California—a highly flammable state packed with people—is getting it worse than just about anybody in the world.” -Steve Pyne, fire historian  

  1. It’s “Hell on Earth” in California🔥 The Pyrocene is a unique time in history when human use of fire, particularly the burning of fossil fuels, and the attendant climate change combine to create hell on Earth according to fire historian, Steve Pyne.
  2. Here’s the low-down...High-winds, some rivaling a Cat 2 hurricane, fanned the flames of California’s active fires this week while igniting new ones. The Kincade Fire alone has burned 77,000 acres and destroyed 200+ structures.
  3. Damage estimates are rolling in (take them with a grain of salt): $25 billion worth of damages for California’s active wildfires, with the Kincade fire at $10.6 billion and SoCal wildfires around $14.8 billion according to Chuck Watson from the Enki Research Centre. 
  4. Losses = Dropped Policies...Areas affected by wildfires in 2015 and 2017 saw a 10% increase in policies dropped by insurers. For every $1 of premium collected in California last year, insurers paid $1.70 in claims: “We think as bad as these numbers are, they’re only going to get worse in 2019,” said the CA Department of Insurance.
  5. AM Best says the “new normal” is now...normal: Wildfire risk scoring models need to be adjusted to fit the new normal. “As insurers look at the last three years, the sheer number of events and their severity will undoubtedly lead them to continue their re-examination of this peril,” said AM Best. Need help underwriting and managing wildfire? Check out these innovative solutions...   

Missed last week’s Friday Five? Check it out here.  

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Topics: wildfire risk, California Wildfires, Wildfire exposure

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