Travelers Bulks Up Wildfire Protection After Deadly 2018 Blazes

June 13, 2019

Travelers Cos. is strengthening its wildfire-defense efforts after deadly blazes swept through California last year.

The insurer is adding a service to all of its California home and landlord policies, helping customers prepare their property for a fire by different means such as taping vents or applying fire retardants to cut back on risk. That comes after fires in November caused more than $12 billion in insured losses industrywide.

California battled blazes last year that killed residents and devastated the town of Paradise. Travelers joins companies such as American International Group Inc.’s private client group and Chubb Ltd. that offer ways to help clients try to prevent damage from wildfires. Travelers’ offering, with private firm Wildfire Defense Systems, is in addition to the efforts of local firefighters and seeks ways to help customers remove potential fuel from around homes.

The service “can help us reach and protect more California homes in the event of an emergency,” Michael Klein, Travelers’ president of personal insurance, said in a statement.

Klein said in January that the insurer was also in talks with regulators to raise rates for some homeowners in the state and may deny some renewals in the area after “two significant years in a row of losses.”

About the photo: Burned-out vehicles in Paradise, California, in November. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

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