Insurers’ Private Firefighters Give Wealthy Homeowners Extra Protection

By Laura Zuckerman | September 30, 2013
Western Wildfires

  • September 30, 2013 at 10:26 am
    jack says:
    Hot debate. What do you think?
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    They pay for the service and deserve it! See democrat comments below. 1. that’s not fair 2. they stole their wealth 3. they should pay for everyones fire trucks so tax them more 4. blah…blah…blah

    • September 30, 2013 at 1:44 pm
      jw says:
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      What? Your “comments below” make no sense.

      • September 30, 2013 at 3:15 pm
        jack says:
        Hot debate. What do you think?
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        jw, just got out ahead of all the rich hating democrats and said it before they could.

    • October 2, 2013 at 1:49 pm
      Not a Democrat says:
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      There are no comments as to what you were referring. It is people like you that start these silly political rants on an INSURANCE web-site. You just sound like a Jack Ass. Stick to the subject, I agree with the fact of they pay for it and deserve it…but the rest, give it a rest my friend.

      • October 2, 2013 at 3:24 pm
        jack says:
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        In case you missed it, insurance is political. Can you say shutdown? Compare what’s happening with the Biggert-Waters flood reform act to Obamacare and what will happen in the future to health premiums. If you can’t let me know and this jack ass will explain it to you.

      • October 3, 2013 at 8:26 am
        Seriously? says:
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        Just let him be, some people can’t help but shove politics, religion, and their other inane beliefs down people’s throats at any available chance. If jack every wonders why people are always rushing to get away from him at parties, this is why.

        • October 3, 2013 at 10:13 am
          jack says:
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          I avoid parties involing people like you so i don’t have that problem.

  • September 30, 2013 at 10:40 am
    Auto PM says:
    Well-loved. Like or Dislike:
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    While I think this is a great service offered by these companies, it just goes to show how few original ideas there are in our industry. Go back to the late 1700s and early 1800s to the origins of fire insurance in this country and you will find that insurance companies had their own firefighters. That is the origin of the collectable “firemarks” that were placed on the outside of homes. The firemark identified that a home was insured with a particilar insurance company so that the firefighters knew it was OK to fight the fire at that house. As a product manager I am never ashamed to recycle an old idea if it is a good one.

    • October 8, 2013 at 9:43 pm
      MrInsBrokerSF says:
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      Some years ago I saw a TV commercial for a product that was billed as a completely non toxic powder applied by garden hose with a spray bottle attached. After spraying a 4×8 piece of untreated
      plywood, a gas torch was applied, and predictably, on side was
      destroyed while the other was unmarked.

      Does anyone know the name of this product?
      Is it the same stuff used for airplane fires?
      How long does it remain effective after being applied?
      If everyone bought this, like smoke detectors, it would seem the price would drop, and insurers could offer discounts to encourage
      it’s use.

      The negative – someone could get killed trying to protect their house when they really need to evacuate.

  • September 30, 2013 at 1:48 pm
    jw says:
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    I think this is a great idea.

    I wonder if insurers will ever expand this? Do you think it could save money in less expensive neighborhoods?

    • September 30, 2013 at 2:56 pm
      CA Rep says:
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      Good question! My guess is “maybe, eventually”. If standard companies that are insuring mid-level homes in brush areas did contract with a private firefighting firm to spray fire resistant foam on their insured houses, that might be seen as an offsetting factor to exposure??? And maybe that could allow them to write more homes in a particular area that they could have this service available? But that’s just me thinking out loud. It would need some actuarial review to crunch the #’s and make sure the product/option would be profitable for the standard brush risk. Among other factors, it would likely depend on the cost of the private fire service, the effectiveness of the service, and the book of business and exposure that the company had in serviceable brush areas. Now if an individual could pre-pay or subscribe to a fire protection service that would come out and spray their home & the surrounding area before the arrival of a fire, that would most certainly warrant a discount off their fire premium. But again, just me thinking out loud.

    • September 30, 2013 at 3:14 pm
      jack says:
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      It will never be extended to less expensive neighborhoods because someone has to pay for it. The people that get this service pay very high premiums, and thats the way it should be.

      • October 1, 2013 at 7:17 am
        jw says:
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        If I lived in an area, or even close to an area, that has high probablility of brush/forest fires I would gladly pay an additional premium or fee for the service. Wouldn’t you?

        • October 1, 2013 at 3:19 pm
          CA Rep says:
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          Yes JW, I would seriously consider it and I’m sure there are others that would too. Not multi-millionaires, but people that are well-off enough to have a modest mountain cabin as a secondary/seasonal residence. There has to be a good percentage of them that would pay an additional premium for the additional piece of mind.

          Jack’s right (for now). Those that have it currently are paying a high premium for it, and thus they should get the service. But we have to consider that there have been many things throughout history that when first available were only available to the wealthy… but as time goes on and the things could be produced more economically, allowing them to be accessed by the general public. Examples would be automobiles, commercial airline flights, computers, mobile devices, all of which were first only accessible to the wealthy, but today readily available to common person. If these private fire fighting services prove to be effective, and the services and materials used can be made more cost-effective by way of subscription or in the case of a carrier, making a bulk subscription (most likely discounted) on their exposure, then it’s just a matter of time before Joe Public can afford to add that endorsement to his fire policy.
          The hard part is finding a carrier that will look into it and see if they can make it profitable. If & when one does and has good results, others will follow suit.

          • October 2, 2013 at 8:16 am
            jw says:
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            I hope it does become available to more people. I can see that the benefit has to out weigh the cost for the company or the consumer.

  • October 1, 2013 at 1:59 pm
    R says:
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    Some of the volunteer departments currently use a subscription fee and will not respond if you don’t subscribe.

    • October 2, 2013 at 1:12 pm
      Captain Planet says:
      • October 2, 2013 at 3:52 pm
        jack says:
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        Bet they pay the fee next time.

        • October 3, 2013 at 9:21 am
          Captain Planet says:
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          jack,
          Maybe so, but if you went to the ER with a life threatening ailment, they don’t wait to perform the necessary procedure until you pay. Why not save the house rather than just watch it flame up? The long of the story actually tells how the owner was pleading and offered to pay double the $75 fee but they just let it burn. Put the fire out, get the $75, then call it a day. Just my opinion. I think if I were a firefigher, I’d have an awufl hard time not helping someone who is need. I’m there, I have the tools to put the fire out, so I just would. It’s the right thing to do. Jesus wouldn’t stand there and watch it fall to the ground.

          • October 3, 2013 at 10:18 am
            jack says:
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            I didn’t say I wouldn’t have helped put the fire out, i said i bet they pay the fee next time. See the diffence?

          • October 3, 2013 at 11:49 am
            Libby says:
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            Not really. You sounded really cold-hearted.

          • October 3, 2013 at 1:06 pm
            jack says:
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            Libby-
            I bet they pay the fee next time means when they get the bill in the mail i bet they sit down at the kitchen table and write the check so the next time the fireman puts water on their house. better?

            A fireman standing their watching the house burn down is kind of like giving the stand down order not to rescue Americans in Libya. I personally would help put the fire out.

          • October 3, 2013 at 3:15 pm
            Libby says:
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            They don’t HAVE a kitchen table, Jack. Their house burned down.

  • October 3, 2013 at 12:31 pm
    phoenix says:
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    How many fees do you think they would actually collect if it was known that thy would put out the fire anyway? Yep – ZERO! Everybody would just plan on paying the $75 in the event they did have a fire.

    • October 3, 2013 at 12:57 pm
      jack says:
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      Thats the Obumacareless plan Phoenix. Buy health ins after the heart attack. Can you say bankrupt the nation?

      • October 3, 2013 at 1:47 pm
        Captain Planet says:
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        Just to clarify the law, you cannot get coverage after the open enrollment date has passed until the next year when open enrollment starts again. So, your scenario of waiting until after a heart attack doesn’t work.

  • October 3, 2013 at 3:18 pm
    Libby says:
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    Why don’t homeowner carriers just create a pool of money for neighborhoods where there is a high probability of fire? Pony up based on the percentage of TIV you have in the area. Doesn’t seem like it would be that hard of a thing to do.

    • October 8, 2013 at 9:36 pm
      MrInsBrokerSF says:
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      In the past it would’ve been a major administrative headache to manage, and that would add cost. Now with computers, it could be practical, but that model is community based coverage v statewide
      spread if risk companies use now.

      Most insurers refuse to cover the high risk properties, and if anything is close to being a fact you can count on, it’s that
      most insurers will never change until they feel they have no other choice to protect their market share.

      What most insurers would consider innovative is a new logo, or product brochure!

      I think the biggest obstacle preventing insurers from doing what seems to make sense in loss prevention, is that they fear spending money to save your house from a tree falling on it, or a fire, then you leave them for a cheaper or other brand. I think that
      exemplifies their collective lack of self esteem.

      I found it interesting the policy holder quoted in the article said he didn’t even know he had the coverage until the fire truck showed up. Surprise! We’re here to save your house. What about my neighbors over there? Oh, that’s not our responsibility, AIG
      hired us just to help you. I wonder if the coverage is clearly
      explained? If it were me, I’d make it impossible to miss. The
      other thing I noted was this is no quarantee of service – they say
      their proprietary software will direct their hired fire crews to
      the home (s) they insure that are in the most vulnerable location.

      It could also be that the insurer may reserve the right to direct
      fire crews to Tom Hanks house instead of yours?

  • October 8, 2013 at 9:23 pm
    MrInsBrokerSF says:
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    That’s the essence of tough love:
    We’d love to help protect your home, but if you refuse to help us pay for our equipment etc., it’s your loss!



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