Fireman’s Fund Offers to Rebuild Wildfire Homes “Green”

November 7, 2007

In response to the Southern California wildfires that burned in late October, Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co. is responding with an innovative green upgrade for affected policyholders. The company said it will rebuild its Prestige Premier policyholders’ homes that were damaged or destroyed “green,” if desired by policyholders.

The company indicated it hoped to set a new standard for personal insurance, offering the upgrade for affected homeowners who want to re-build their homes using environmental safety and efficiency standards and landscape using native trees, plants and shrubs.

A green home uses less energy, water and natural resources; creates less waste; and is healthier for the people living inside, the company said. The health benefits alone include reduced exposure to mold, mildew and indoor toxins. Many green plants and shrubs that are native to the region provide natural wildfire protection, it added.

Starting in 2008, Fireman’s Fund plans to offer green coverage upgrades as well as other enhancements and loss prevention services currently being offered to impacted Southern California Prestige Home Premier policyholders, to homeowners in selected states.

“Family safety and health is of utmost importance, especially after the considerable loss Southern Californians have experienced,” said Robert Courtemanche, president, Personal Insurance at Fireman’s Fund. “It is important to provide the best protection we can at this time when it is needed the most. We want to be part of the solution in rebuilding safer communities because it is the right thing to do.”

The company indicated studies have shown the benefits include lower susceptibility to asthma and allergies, better overall health and productivity in homes with green features. The National Center for Healthy Housing states it is clear that homeowners can expect substantial health gains by building green.

Green replacement upgrades include:

•Fireman’s Fund will repair or replace damaged property with materials and products that meet environmental safety and energy efficiency standards.

•Green building features include Energy Star-rated appliances and lighting fixtures, home insulation, heating/ventilating/air conditioning, low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints, sealants, adhesives, low-emission carpeting, Federal Energy Management Program- designated plumbing fixtures featuring water conservation, and use of forest stewardship certified wood for cabinets, ceilings, siding and framing.

•Trees, Shrubs, Lawns and other plants – Up to $10,000 per plant and $50,000 total for replacing destroyed vegetation with those that reduce the risk of spreading wildfire. Recommending fire-resistant and green landscaping is part of a comprehensive loss prevention program already available to Fireman’s Fund California policyholders to proactively reduce vulnerability to wildfire.

•Pet injury – up to $25,000 for veterinary expenses due to injuries caused by an occurrence such as the fires.

Source: Fireman’s Fund

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