Insurers Enlist Home Wildfire Protection

June 4, 2024 — CANADA’s insurers are turning to a U.S.-based wildfire prevention and suppression specialist to protect property policyholders in B.C. and Alberta.

Bozeman, Montana-based Wildfire Defense Systems has been enlisted by Intact Insurance, its sister company Belairdirect, and Aviva Canada to provide services in those two provinces.

Gore Mutual has partnered with WDS for its policyholders in most areas of B.C.

If homes of those insurers’ customers are threatened by an active wildfire and under an evacuation order, WDS will send contracted professionals who enter the evacuation zone and attempt to mitigate the fire risk.

Measures may include moving outdoor furniture, wood piles, or other debris away from a property, setting up temporary sprinkler systems to wet down an area around a property to reduce the chance of an ignition, and closing any structure entryways, garage doors, and windows to prevent embers and smoke from entering a home.

If a threat is considered extreme, WDS may apply fire-blocking gel and fire retardant to a property and surrounding vegetation to prevent ignition.

Since 2008, WDS crews have responded to more than 1,300 wildfire incidents on behalf of insurers and the company said the resulting structure survival rate is over 99% where intervention is possible.

When preventive measures have been taken to protect properties, crews return after a fire front passes to ensure no threats remain and restore them to their pre-service state.

WDS said it prioritizes the most threatened properties first, regardless of market value.

The company’s personnel are not first responders. Once authorities grant access, WDS’s crews supplement and complement public resources, providing additional support to protect insured properties.

WDS’s services are only available through its insurer partners.

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