Homeowners and communities do not have to be helpless victims -- they can roll up their sleeves and work together to create Firewise® Communities! The hard work that residents of more than 1,200 communities across 41 states have put in to become safer from wildfire through the Firewise Communities/USA® Recognition Program has resulted in significant saves and success stories. USAA®, a financial services provider that serves the military community and their families, has analyzed the experience of their members living in Firewise communities in several states. Their analysis demonstrates that the influence of the Firewise program in a community actually results in reduced wildfire losses compared to communities in the same state that do not engage in wildfire mitigation programs. Arizona is the latest state where USAA has analyzed loss data and proven that Firewise is working.
USAA has worked with the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Wildland Fire Operations Division over several years to investigate the possibility of providing incentives for residents of wildfire-prone areas to take steps to create safer, more fire-adapted communities. NFPA’s Firewise Communities/USA® Recognition Program provided the community action framework and local data that enabled USAA to offer this new discount to policyholders. To date, the discount is already being offered to members in Firewise communities in California, Colorado, and Texas, three states prone to wildfire activity. On February 15, the discount will
be offered to members in Firewise communities in the state of Arizona.
USAA homeowners policyholders living in a recognized Firewise community will automatically receive the discount at their first renewal after February 15. New USAA policies for homes in recognized communities also qualify for the discount, but homes must meet USAA’s underwriting standards before a new USAA policy can be issued.
At NFPA, we’re excited that the value of the Firewise program is being provided this kind of recognition from a major insurer. And because each state’s insurance regulators have to approve USAA’s discount, they too are aware of the benefits that consumers and citizens can reap from taking action at the community level. As USAA looks into more states to offer this reward for proactive wildfire loss reduction, we hope that other insurers and private sector partners will be interested to learn how Firewise can help promote safer behaviors that lead to fewer disaster losses.