AIG Private Client Group Launches Mobile Wildfire Protection Unit for Calif. Policyholders

AIG Private Client Group, a division of the property and casualty insurance subsidiaries of American International Group Inc. (AIG), announced the creation and deployment of its Wildfire Protection Unit, the first mobile service designed to mitigate and proactively respond to wildfire exposure of its insureds in select areas of northern and southern California.

Wildfires are a perpetual threat to homeowners in affected areas. Over 10,000 wildfires occurred in California in 2003 and 2004, collectively causing over $1 billion in property damage. Unprecedented brush growth from heavy winter rainfall brings significant potential for catastrophic loss in the 2005 season.

Preexisting wildfire mitigation tactics include non-combustible construction materials, regular brush clearing and non-combustible plantings in landscape design. Some homeowners permanently install exterior wildfire suppression systems, but the vast majority relies on the efforts of their local fire departments.

AIG Private Client Group sought to better protect its California policyholders, whose irreplaceable, high-value properties warrant a more sophisticated level of protection. Its Wildfire Protection Unit can be accessed by insureds who reside in either of two designated zones: one in southern California (eligible zip codes: 90049; 90077; 90210; 90265; 90272; 91361; 91362) and one in northern California (eligible zip codes: 94010; 94022; 94025; 94027; 94028; 94062; 94301). Insureds may enroll via a toll free number designated for the initiative.

Wildfire Protection Unit services include*:

• On-site consultation — The Wildfire Protection Unit will visit the property to assess exposure levels and determine if pre-treatment is warranted;

• Pre-treatment — Trained wildfire mitigation specialists will spray perimeter brush on the property with Phos-Chek®, the same environmentally friendly fire retardant used by the U.S. Forest Service; and

• Rapid Response — Enrolled properties are mapped using GPS technology. If a wildfire is within three miles of the home, a “Rapid Response” truck will be automatically dispatched to apply fire retardant to all combustible areas on the property, including landscaping.

“I work with a dedicated team that focuses solely on avoiding or mitigating damage for the clients we serve,” said Stephen Poux, Director of Loss Prevention, AIG Private Client Group. “Our Wildfire Protection Unit was created to more effectively protect policyholders from the devastating effects of wildfires through state-of-the-art technology and on-the-ground expertise.”

Both the on-site consultation and the Rapid Response service are available to eligible policyholders at no cost. In some instances, pre-treatment will involve a fee of approximately $500.

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*Please note that the program described is only one element of a responsible brush fire mitigation strategy and does not satisfy legal requirements under SB 1369 in the State of California. Brush should continue to be managed seasonally and thinned up to 100 feet from the home as required by SB 1369. The AIG Private Client Group Wildfire Protection Unit should not substitute for the utilization of local fire departments or other traditional fire suppression authorities. Issuance of coverage is subject to underwriting review and approval. The description herein is a summary only and does not include all terms, conditions and exclusions of the policies described. Please refer to the actual policies for complete details of coverage and exclusions. Coverage may not be available in all jurisdictions. Non-insurance services may be provided through independent third parties.