Insurance company protects client homes from fires in West
| 08.28.2007 | 06:32:02 | Views: 4236 | ID:
August 28 '07: The New York Times reported one insurance company helping to protect its clients' assets from wildfires in Western states by deploying fire prevention crews to spray houses with retardant. AIG Insurance "has deployed a crew to Idaho as part of its Wildfire Protection Unit for high-end clients who are willing to pay what the company says is an average of $10,000 annually for homeowner's insurance."
A local Idaho paper, the Times News reported that though the company has received help and permission from the Forest Service, area fire crews are sometimes piqued that a private company has access to the fire roads used to combat the wildfires.However, most of the help from the company is welcomed from federal officials. AIG Vice President and National Director of Risk Management for AIG Private Client Group told the Times, "There are people that are building in places where they never used to build before. ... They're getting more and more into what we call the urban interface," which is a term for development areas near public-owned wilderness, the NY Times reported. And Don Smurthwaite, a spokesman for the National Interagency Fire Center told the Times, "We don't see any downside," to AIG helping to prevent private homes from burning. "The homeowner receives added protection, the insurer may be able to avoid large payoff and it frees up firefighters to work on suppression rather than protecting structures." "That's one of the big changes in firefighting in the last 20 years," Smurthwaite said. "People are moving into areas that have burned historically."
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