Chubb Encourages Homeowners to Prepare Early for Wildfires
WARREN, NJ, March 31, 2014—As warmer weather approaches, the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies is encouraging homeowners to take steps now to help protect
their homes from wildfires.
A prolonged drought in the West has some fire officials worried that 2014 could bring an increase in wildfires after a drop
in such activity last year. In 2013, 47,579 reported wildfires burned 4.3 million acres, compared to 67,774 wildfires affecting
9.3 million acres in the prior year, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
While California and neighboring states have experienced some of the largest wildfires, the destruction is not confined to
the West. In 2013, large wildfires erupted in Colorado, Texas, Florida, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, among other states—and
not just during the driest and hottest months.
“At one time, wildfires were more likely to start in the late summer and early fall—and you could warn homeowners about the
approaching ‘wildfire season,’” said Christie Alderman, new products and services manager for Chubb Personal Insurance. “Now,
we see wildfires threatening homes throughout the year, and it means homeowners must be more vigilant.”
Alderman said that changing weather patterns may contribute to the unpredictable wildfire season, but it’s also because more
people are building homes in the woods to enjoy the natural beauty of the surroundings. “The downside of living amid nature
is that homes are exposed to nature’s wrath, including wildfires,” she said.
Alderman said homeowners who live in high-risk wildfire areas should assess whether their properties are adequately protected
from a wildfire. Some steps they can take include:
- Replacing cedar roof shingles with ceramic tiles or other non-flammable materials;
- Replacing flammable shrubs and bushes with fire-resistant plants;
- Covering the chimney and open vents with wire mesh to prevent embers from entering the house;
- Moving propane tanks away from the home;
- Removing debris from gutters and beneath decks; and
- Replacing landscaping mulch with stones or other fire-resistive materials.
Alderman also encourages homeowners to sign up for a wildfire defense service, which could help protect their property in
the event of a wildfire. In 14 states, Chubb offers its own Wildfire Defense Services at no charge to policyholders. In addition to providing wildfire education and property risk assessments, the program responds
to wildfires through a network of certified wildfire fighters that takes various measures, including moving lawn furniture
indoors, setting up temporary perimeter sprinkler systems and, if necessary, applying a highly effective fire-blocking gel
to the house. Since its inception in 2008, Chubb’s free loss-prevention service has helped save dozens of homes. Chubb homeowners
in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington,
Wyoming and portions of Texas who have not yet registered for the service can do so online at www.chubbwildfiredefense.com.
Since 1882, members of the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies have provided property and casualty insurance products to customers
around the globe. These products are offered through a worldwide network of independent agents and brokers. The Chubb Group
of Insurance Companies is known for financial strength, underwriting and loss-control expertise, tailoring products for the
needs of high-net-worth individuals and commercial customers in niche markets and select industry segments, and outstanding
The Chubb Group of Insurance Companies is the marketing term used to describe several separately incorporated insurance companies
under the common ownership of The Chubb Corporation. The Chubb Corporation is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:
CB) and, together with its subsidiaries, employs approximately 10,000 people throughout North America, Europe, Latin America,
Asia and Australia. For more information regarding The Chubb Corporation, including a listing of the insurers in the Chubb
Group of Insurance Companies, visit www.chubb.com.