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Betterview (San Francisco), an InsurTech provider of actionable property intelligence to property/casualty insurers, has announced a new relationship with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), a Quincy, Mass.-based non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating death, injury, property, and economic loss due to fire, electrical, and related hazards. The relationship is focused on helping insurers in California adhere to the state’s pending “Safer from Wildfire” legislation and leveraging insights on community-based wildfire mitigation through the NFPA’s Firewise USA recognition program, which will be integrated into Betterview’s Wildfire Insights product within the Betterview Property Intelligence & Risk Management Platform.
“‘Safer from Wildfire’ will greatly impact the insurance industry in California,” says Armin Monajemi, VP, strategic partnerships, Betterview. “Insurers can no longer generalize wildfire risk in California, or simply charge high insurance premiums. Instead, they must consider three measures of wildfire risk: the vulnerability of the structure itself, the vulnerability of the immediate surroundings, and finally the vulnerability of the community. These more stringent regulations will encourage insurers to get a more complete picture of wildfire risk at the property and community level, to write safer, better-informed policies in the most at-risk communities.”
With California and other states experiencing more devastating wildfires, the ability of insurers to acquire new data rapidly will help policyholders proactively prevent damage from these wildfire events, according to a Betterview statement. In response to increasing wildfire risk, California’s pending “Safer from Wildfire” legislation will require insurers to implement a new rating system for underwriting properties in the state. One particular provision included in the “Safer from Wildfire” legislation even mandates that insurers offer discounts to policyholders taking prescribed precautions against wildfire risk.
The “Safer from Wildfire” legislation also provides guidelines for evaluating the vulnerability of communities—which Betterview says was the driving factor behind building the relationship with NFPA. Participation in NFPA’s Firewise USA recognition program requires communities to meet criteria for wildfire safety including home preparedness, creation of defensible space, and vegetative fuel modification. Under the “Safer from Wildfire” guidelines, participation in Firewise USA is specifically mentioned as one program proven to reduce community wildfire risks.
Betterview recently launched Wildfire Risk Insights, a new feature of the Betterview Property Intelligence & Risk Management Platform, to help insurers protect communities in high-risk areas where wildfires are increasing in both frequency and severity while minimizing losses. Betterview Wildfire Risk Insights uses predictive analytics, computer vision, and third-party property data to show a holistic picture of wildfire risk including both regional hazard data and property-level vulnerability. The relationship between Betterview and NFPA aims to enrich the risk insights by including the community aspect, which the firm says is a critical piece in reducing wildfire risks. By showing the geospatial community boundaries, insurers can see which properties are in designated Firewise USA sites from within the Betterview user interface (UI), empowering fast and efficient underwriting decisions.
“Featuring Firewise USA in Betterview is a great way to show insurers which properties are part of an ongoing effort to reduce wildfire risk at the community level, allowing them to encourage their policyholders to continue their loss reduction activities in concert with their neighbors,” says Michele Steinberg, Wildfire Division Director, NFPA. “Our organization’s goal is to protect homes, businesses, and communities from the threat of wildfire. By incentivizing policyholders to prepare for wildfire, and offering them discounts on coverage, California’s Safer from Wildfire goes a long way towards achieving that goal.”