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The California FAIR Plan is Only a Temporary Safety Net; Real Change In Wildfire Defense Systems Is Coming

Fire Defense Commentary    Steve Conboy    August 21 2021   


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Mighty Fire Breaker’s Locked-N-Loaded™ Systems use gas powered pumps, so our system does not rely on the power companies. Our tanks are inspected once a year to ensure the system is ready to defend when a property owner is told to evacuate. We train the property owner how to start the system to saturate the structure and around the structure with our MFB-31 fire inhibitor, which is ready to defend when wet or dry.

The California FAIR Plan provides basic fire insurance coverage for high-risk properties when traditional insurance companies will not. It is a temporary safety net until this industry embraces new, engineered wildfire defense systems that reduce risk of loss for insurers and support affordable premiums for property owners.

GPS-tracked wildfire defense systems that use safe, accredited fire inhibitor chemistry, together with ember-blocking vents, can now be put in place to defend against risk of loss, 24/7.
In the news: The month-old Dixie Fire is now the single biggest fire in California's recorded history. It has destroyed more than 1,000 buildings, including nearly all of the small community of Greenville.

  • Nationally more than 4.5 million homes have been identified as being at high or extreme risk of wildfire. On average more than 2,500 homes per year are destroyed in wildfires. "In California, more than 2 million homeowners are running the risk of losing their insurance coverage because of wildfires," says Attila Toth, CEO of Zesty.ai, an Oakland-based startup that uses AI to help insurers assess climate risk. How it works: Zesty.ai has developed a model called Z-FIRE that uses aerial imagery, data from connected devices, climate studies and machine learning to provide more accurate wildfire risk assessments.
  • "In the past, risk has been explained at the regional level," Toth says. "But with the advent of big data, and aerial imagery and other data sources that can be analyzed with artificial intelligence, we can build models that are very precise and look at risk at the individual property level." What to watch: This week, Zesty.ai entered into a partnership with the California FAIR Plan Association — the state's insurer of last resort — to use Z-FIRE for wildfire risk assessment.
  • The bottom line: Given the growing threat from wildfire in California, "insurance is a very important solution, but it's not all of the solution," says Toth.
The state will need to consider encouraging denser housing away from wildfire risk areas, because even as Dixie rages, Californians are still ready to move to the danger zone in search of affordable housing.

The California FAIR Plan is Only a Temporary Safety Net

In the last decade, more Californians have turned to the FAIR Plan as wildfires have devastated California and some insurers have pulled back from these markets. However, the Plan’s goal is attrition. For most homeowners, the FAIR Plan is there to support them until coverage offered by a traditional carrier becomes available. The Plan reaches success when it are no longer needed.

Mighty Fire Breaker is out to make a real difference. Aerial imagery will show its Locked-N-Loaded Sprinkler Systems on structures in Sonoma and San Diego. Such solutions promote positive change that is desperately needed in all western states.

The Insurance Industry can help us raise the bar in wildfire defense, much like the building departments did after the Northridge Earthquake to require engineering that helps ensure that buildings and freeways won’t collapse. Wildfire defense cannot be “JUST IN TIME” spraying foams and gels. The most effective wildfire defense has to be put in place in advance of a wildfire and supported by accredited laboratory test results. Mighty Fire Breaker’s No Short Cut Quality Assurance Program and GPS tracking can support insurance providers 12 months out of the year on every house.

Mighty Fire Breaker’s Locked-n-Loaded Systems use gas powered pumps, so our system does not rely on the power companies. Our tanks are inspected once a year to ensure the system is ready to defend when a property owner is told to evacuate. We train the property owner how to start the system to saturate the structure and around the structure with our MFB-31 fire inhibitor, which is ready to defend when wet or dry.

Mighty Fire Breaker’s founder is a nationally recognized value engineering expert on tall wood framed high density structures. He is an award winner in early fire elimination and is committed to bringing a solution that the Insurance Industry can count on to reduce risk and lower property owners risk premiums, just like his program did for national builders.