Two-thirds of respondents report making mitigation efforts to protect their properties, but 58% have never spoken with their insurance provider about wildfire risk
Aug 5, 2021 | 4 min Read
Zesty.ai, a leader in property risk analytics powered by artificial intelligence (AI), today released the results of a new survey exploring how prepared residents of Western states are for wildfire season. They polled residents of Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Washington, and found that the majority of all respondents (55%) don’t know if they live in a high-risk area, despite 87% saying they are either concerned or very concerned about this year’s wildfire season.
While 89% of all respondents said they believe mitigation efforts like clearing vegetation and installing screens on windows to keep embers out can make a real impact in protecting property from wildfires, only two-thirds (66%) are reporting that they are taking steps on these efforts. For those that are, over a quarter (27%) take action all-year round.
“It’s encouraging that the vast majority of residents in the Western states understand the impact of mitigation efforts, but it’s important that the number of homeowners actually taking action increase in order to maximize protection of properties and communities in these regions,” said Attila Toth, CEO of Zesty.ai. “We know mitigation efforts can have a profound impact with regards to protecting homes and communities, as evidenced by the findings of a recent study we conducted with the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS). We studied more than 71,000 properties involved in wildfires between 2016 and 2019 and found property owners who clear vegetation from the perimeter of their home or building can double their structure’s likelihood of surviving a wildfire.”
Zesty.ai’s Z-FIRE™ is an AI model trained on more than 1,400 wildfire events across more than 20 years of historical loss data. It considers property-level features that influence risk, such as topography, historical climate data, and critically, factors extracted from high-resolution imagery like, building materials and surrounding vegetation in multiple defensible spaces. This empowers insurers with a much more precise risk score to inform underwriting and rating while recognizing mitigation efforts by homeowners and their respective communities.
In terms of communicating the benefits of mitigation efforts, 51% of survey respondents said the best way to get that information would be through a letter from local fire officials, followed by 40% who think it’d be best to get this information when renewing or applying for homeowners insurance, and 9% who would like to get this information from a real estate website like Zillow. Despite the fact that 40% of respondents would like to get this information through their insurance provider, 58% have never spoken to their carrier about wildfire risk.
Additional key findings from the survey include:
- 87% of all respondents are confident or very confident in their local fire departments to contain and manage fire-related emergencies
- Despite wildfires starting earlier and the extreme drought impacting the Western U.S., 35% of all respondents think this year’s wildfire season will be about the same as last year
- Oregonians are most proactive in protecting their property, with 73% of Oregon respondents saying they are making mitigation efforts compared to 66% of all respondents
- Californians are most proactive when it comes to discussing wildfire risk with their insurance provider, with 39% of California respondents saying they’ve had that discussion compared to 34% of all respondents
- 36% of all respondents believe mitigation efforts by homeowners is the most important factor for saving properties during wildfire season
For more information on Zesty.ai and its wildfire risk model, Z-FIRE™, please visit https://www.zesty.ai/wildfire-risk.
Zesty.ai offers access to precise intelligence about every property in North America for insurance and real estate customers. The company uses aerial imagery, building permit, transaction and weather data, combined with artificial intelligence (AI) to turn more than 200 billion data points into comprehensive digital records. Zesty.ai provides a constantly updated database of property information that impacts a property’s value and associated risks and also accounts for the potential impact of catastrophic events like wildfires, hail storms and floods by combining its vast property knowledge and predictive AI models into property-specific risk scores. In an increasingly digital world, Zesty.ai brings properties into a new digital age that enables real time transactions and powerful predictive analytics. Visit https://zesty.ai for more information.