A year after the Marshall Fire devastated suburban Colorado in the dead of winter, property/casualty insurers worldwide are grappling with the new realities of wildfire risk. They’ll need a three-pronged approach to avoid getting burned.

Executive Summary

As wildfire risks have grown in the past several years, they have become a significant contributor to insurance industry losses. With this in mind, insurers will need to rethink how they approach and respond to this risk, Laura Drabik, chief evangelist at Guidewire Software, writes. In this article, she shares three considerations for insurers as they look toward the future of climate change and wildfire risk.

As someone who started my career as a claims adjuster, I’ve seen firsthand the financial and emotional misery unleashed by catastrophes like the Marshall Fire. I know the pain behind the words of people like Louisville, Colo., resident Nan Boultbee, who lost everything she owned when the blaze leveled her four-bedroom home last December.

“This is overwhelming for us,” she told the New York Times (‘I Have Absolutely Nothing’: After a Massive Winter Fire, What Is Left?) “We don’t have a home to go home to.” She was also far from alone. Fueled by 110-mile-per-hour winds, the inferno incinerated 1,000 homes and businesses across 6,000 acres even as forecasted snowfall threatened to freeze water pipes, the New York Times reported.

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