Natural disasters hit the U.S. hard in 2017. As if it weren’t enough to have back-to-back hurricanes and flooding in the Southeast, California’s wine country also took a beating. Ferocious wildfires spread quickly through homes,
businesses and vineyards, jumping highways to
burn nearly everything in their path. Then, Southern California battled raging flames as well — five
fires that filled a space as large as New York City
and Boston combined, according to CNN.
Agents and brokers, insurers and policyholders have all learned from this experience and will
carry that knowledge with them. This will hold
true for all insurable risks in the region from
personal property to businesses of all sizes,
I was on the ground assisting our adjusters
immediately after the area was opened to us.
On the scene after the fires passed, we could see
nothing left on some properties but lone chimneys
standing and burned shells of cars and trucks.
Neighborhoods were burned to the ground. Entire
wineries were taken out, vineyard estate dwellings burned, irrigation systems and pump stations
ruined. Fortunately, about 85% of the region’s
grapes had been harvested before the fire and
will continue to make their way to store shelves.
As a result of this damage, a variety of coverages have kicked in for policyholders, particularly
homeowners. For our policyholders, which include many wineries in the region and across the
U.S., we’ve seen claims related to property and
equipment, tanks and barrels, irrigation systems
and pumps, estate vineyard dwellings, and
a number of business interruption claims.
Aside from the visible damage, employees
LESSONS LEARNED FROM A PAINFUL YEAR AND A LOOK AHEAD
couldn’t come to work because their homes were
destroyed or roads were closed or unsafe to
travel. At the same time, the region was off-limits
Wildfires & Wineries