When it comes to dangers that can threaten your home, you may find it hard to imagine the experience of a wildfire blazing a path to your door. But in recent decades, the severity, size and number of wildfires across the United States has increased,1 and the U.S. Forest Service has begun treating them as a year-round catastrophe.
In late December 2021, more than 1,000 homes and businesses across more than 6,000 acres in towns north of Denver, Colorado, were devastated by wildfires. This followed wildfires earlier in the year in California that burned 2.6 million acres and destroyed more than 3,600 buildings.2 Those California fires included two significant fires that burned hundreds of thousands of acres and destroyed or damaged more than 2,500 structures. The Dixie Fire tragically resulted in one fatality while the Caldor Fire resulted in five injuries.
The Dixie Fire has burned more than 960,000 acres since it ignited in mid-July, making it the second-largest wildfire on record in California.3 The Caldor Fire has burned more than 220,000 acres since sparking in El Dorado County on August 14.4 Combined, these two major fires present a devastating example of the danger that can imperil homeowners each year.
When devastating wildfires strike, Travelers turns to its geospatial technology – imagery analysis and weather mapping – to support our customers in the areas affected or in the danger zones surrounding it. With geospatial technology, the Travelers Claim CorpsSM team can view images of customer homes before evacuation orders are lifted.
Using this technology, airplanes with special cameras mounted underneath are flown over the wildfire-affected areas to capture imagery of the damage. Travelers then combines the imagery with its property boundary data to identify customers’ home locations. This helps the team begin outreach and support to customers.
Using our award-winning Wildfire Detector AI Model,5 Travelers Claim professionals identified the limited number of total and partial losses experienced by our customers in these events. Travelers Catastrophe Response team coordinated with the Mountain West Property Team and the Major Case Team so they could expedite the claim management process for customers who were significantly affected by those events.
While this was raging, the Travelers CAT team was simultaneously managing multiple large wind events from earlier in December including the deadly tornado outbreak that impacted five states and devastated multiple towns and cities in Kentucky and Tennessee.
Travelers uses geospatial technology to get timely photographic imagery of the affected area to help our Claim professionals understand the impact a wildfire had to their customer’s property. Armed with that knowledge, our Claim professionals move quickly to provide the specific support their customer needs - with unwavering empathy and compassion that goes straight from their own heart to their customer’s.
Wildfires often begin unnoticed but can spread quickly, putting lives and property in danger. If you live in an area that is prone to wildfires, you can take steps to help reduce your risks, and help keep yourself, your family and your property safe.
Make sure you have the appropriate insurance coverage to suit your needs. Talk to your local independent agent or Travelers representative about your home insurance.