The wildfire season of 2020 in the western United States has cost insurers anywhere from $ 7 – $13 billion in insured losses through November. The losses were tabulated by Risk Management Solutions, a US-based risk management company, and are for the states of California, Oregon, Washington and Colorado. The RMS estimates included losses from property damage, including smoke damage, as well as business interruption, evacuations and additional living expenses incurred by families hit by fires. Fire experts believe that the unprecedented figure should push insurance companies to look again at their risks and potentially create political pressure to more effectively curb wildfire and climate change risks. David Peterson, a forest biology professor and wildfire expert at the University of Washington said. “Ten years ago, this was a non-issue for [insurance firms]. Now they are saying, ‘This is an extraordinary increase in our risk portfolio”. Michael Young, RMS’s vice president of product management, in a statement said, “This wildfire season reaffirms the growing catastrophic nature of this peril,” said Michael Young, RMS’s vice president of product management, in a statement. Wildfire risk is clearly evolving, not only in California, but also in other states, as we observed in Oregon and Colorado.”
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RMS Estimates that Total Insured Losses from the 2020 Western U.S. Wildfires Will Be Between US$7bn – US$13bn