Tag Archives: Catastrophes

Wildfire Catastrophe Risk

The insurance industry could find itself paying more in claims as wildfires join the growing list of frequent and severe events that have been adding to catastrophe losses in recent years, according to a new report from A.M. Best. It observes that warmer temperatures and drier conditions are making wildfires a year-round affair. While the 2008 wildfire season in the United States wasn’t as severe as in recent years, insurers face the prospect of further property losses from wildfires in 2009 with persistent drought conditions raising the potential for wildfire activity across parts of California, Nevada and the Northwest. A.M. Best reports that when adjusting for inflation into 2009 dollars, wildfire catastrophe losses have averaged nearly $215 million each year from 1964 through 2008. Since 2000, though, annual losses have averaged about $484 million, based on figures from the Property Claim Services (PCS) unit of the Insurance Services Office (ISO). Five of the most severe wildfire events have also occurred this decade, and although the frequency of wildland fires tracked by the National Interagency Fire Center has fallen since the early 1980s, there is an overall rising trend in severity as measured by acres per fire. Check out I.I.I. wildfire statistics.