If there were ever a time for wildfire scientists to reach a consensus with government officials, insurance companies, fire protection associations, environmentalists and the public, that time is now. Wildfire is on top of everyone’s mind. However, too many people are focused on the problem and not enough on the solution.
Together, we have one goal: to eliminate wildfire losses. Wildfires are here to stay – fire suppression can’t get rid of them. Sometimes, suppression can’t even extinguish them. Given we can’t eliminate wildfires and can’t put them out at will, we must instead focus on surviving amid coexistence with wildfire. We need to ask ourselves what we can do collectively to eliminate the danger associated with wildfire, because that is something that can be done.
If each stakeholder’s commitment to risk mitigation were compensatory with their risk of loss, we would likely not be in the situation we find ourselves in today. Unfortunately, there is an imbalance in the risk-reward equation, and some are benefiting from the risk of others. For too long, policyholders have benefited from the risk carriers assumed. Now, carriers are unable to continue without changing the equation by increasing premiums or decreasing exposure.
In this month’s articles, we bring stories of resiliency and survival that are explained by science. We identify solutions that aren’t impossible to implement and strategies that work to reduce suppression costs, diminish wildfire damage and save lives while creating jobs and healing a broken industry. Society is relying on us to get this right, so when the next black swan event occurs, there will still be insurance to fund the recovery.
Tammy Nichols Schwartz, CPCU
President & Founder
Black Swan Analytics, LLC