After evaluating multiple solutions, the state’s insurer of high risk homes selected Z-FIRE™, ZestyAI’s predictive wildfire risk model
Aug 11, 2021 | 4 min Read
LOS ANGELES & OAKLAND, CA | August 11, 2021 08:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time // ZestyAI and the California FAIR Plan Association (FAIR Plan) announced today that the FAIR Plan has selected Z-FIRE as its wildfire risk solution to better understand wildfire risk at the individual property level. As California’s insurer of last resort, the FAIR Plan provides a safety net to property owners who cannot find insurance coverage in the voluntary market and often covers properties most vulnerable to wildfire. The FAIR Plan provides stability in California’s insurance marketplace and ensures all property owners can access basic property coverage regardless of wildfire risk.
In 2013, the FAIR Plan was one of the first insurance providers to adopt wildfire risk models in ratemaking and has long been a bellwether for advancements in insurance technology. Over the past year, the FAIR Plan evaluated several wildfire risk models and recently selected ZestyAI’s Z-FIRE model to improve its ability to assess and rate wildfire risk. The Z-FIRE predictive model represents a new generation in wildfire risk prediction as it has been trained on more than 1,400 wildfire events across 100 years of California wildfire history and accounts for the property-level factors that contribute to wildfire risk, such as building materials, vegetation density and ease of fire suppression.
“Insurance carriers worried about skyrocketing losses due to increased wildfire activity felt compelled to stop writing business in certain high-risk areas, which resulted in the FAIR Plan receiving more applications for coverage than ever,” said Anneliese Jivan, president of the FAIR Plan. “We can no longer rely on 30-year-old technology to understand modern climate phenomena. We spent a considerable amount of time evaluating several models and found ZestyAI’s Z-FIRE outperformed the others by a wide margin. With Z-FIRE, we can charge more accurate premiums that truly reflect a property’s risk and reward homeowners for mitigation efforts they make to harden their homes.”
The FAIR Plan worked with Milliman to assess the predictive power of the Z-FIRE model to differentiate between the best from the worst risks and improve the FAIR Plan’s ability to price wildfire risk, further described in a Milliman white paper.
The Z-FIRE model also considers the impact of homeowners’ mitigation efforts like fuel management or investing in fire-resistant building materials, something the California Department of Insurance (CDI) has been urging insurers to factor into wildfire risk assessment. The CDI has approved the use of Z-FIRE in a rate filing by one of the nation’s largest insurers, and it is quickly emerging as a popular alternative to incumbent models.
“We commend the CDI for calling on insurers to assess wildfire risk at the individual property level and are honored to work with the FAIR Plan to respond to that call,” said Attila Toth, founder and CEO of ZestyAI. “The FAIR Plan has one of the highest concentrations of policy holders exposed to wildfire risk in the world, and it’s vital that it has the tools required for sound, risk-adjusted pricing that will bring increased transparency to the market.”
Aon plc (NYSE: AON), a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions, leveraged its strategic alliances to introduce the California FAIR Plan to ZestyAI.
“This partnership comes at a critical time for the industry as 2020 was the third time in four years that global insured losses from wildfires exceeded $10 billion — with most of those losses concentrated in California,” said George deMenocal, CEO of Aon’s U.S. Reinsurance
Solutions. “Aon’s technological evolution continues to inspire collaborations, like this relationship between ZestyAI and the FAIR Plan, that leverage advances in artificial intelligence that meet clients’ needs today and tomorrow, in a transparent and efficient way.”
The FAIR Plan entered into a five-year agreement with ZestyAI and will use Z-FIRE to assess wildfire risk for every new quote and property in its portfolio. For more information on ZestyAI and its property risk solutions please visit www.zesty.ai.
Increasingly frequent natural disasters have impacted communities and drove $2.2 Trillion in economic losses over the past decade. ZestyAI uses 200Bn data points, including aerial imagery, and artificial intelligence to assess the impact of climate change one building at a time. ZestyAI has partnered with leading insurance companies and property owners to help them protect homes, businesses and support thriving communities. ZestyAI was named Top 100 Most Innovative AI Company in the world by CB Insights in2020, and Gartner Cool Vendor in Insurance by Gartner Research in 2019. For more information visit: https://www.zesty.ai/.
About the FAIR Plan
The California Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) Plan is an insurance pool established by law to assure the availability of basic property insurance to people who own insurable property in the State of California and who, for reasons beyond their control, have been unable to obtain insurance in the voluntary insurance market. The FAIR Plan provides stability in California's insurance marketplace. It is committed to strengthening consumer choices in the voluntary insurance market, while ensuring that all homeowners, including those who live in areas threatened by wildfires, have access to basic property coverage and the peace of mind they deserve. For more information, visit www.CFPnet.com.