Mercury Insurance launches programs for Californians at risk from wildfire

It is one of the first to offer wildfire mitigation discounts

Mercury Insurance launches programs for Californians at risk from wildfire

Catastrophe & Flood

By Ryan Smith

Mercury Insurance has announced the launch of two programs to help Californians better protect their homes if they live in wildfire-prone areas.

Under the first program, homeowners who take one or more steps to harden their homes against wildfires or who live in a community recognized by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) as a “Firewise USA” site will be eligible to receive discounts of up to 18% on the wildfire premium portion of their policy. In the second program, homeowners who have a California Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) Plan policy can increase their coverage with Mercury’s new difference-in-conditions endorsement, which fills gaps in FAIR Plan coverage.

Mercury is one of the first companies to offer wildfire mitigation discounts to Californians living in the wildland-urban interface.

“We’re in this together, which is why Mercury is engineering solutions to encourage proactive actions that better protect homeowners from wildfires,” said Jane Li, director of product management for Mercury Insurance. “It’s important for homeowners in these areas to take proactive steps to shield their property from fire, and it’s just as important for everyone in the community to work together to reduce their shared ignition risks, which could save them money and improve their insurance eligibility.”

The property-level discount applies to policies for hardened home structures and landscapes with sufficient defensible space, Mercury said. Installing a class A-rated roof, using siding made of stucco, metal or brick, and maintaining a fire-resistant landscape are some of the steps homeowners can take to be eligible for the discount.

The community-level discount applies to homes located in an NFPA Firewise USA Recognition Program site, shelter-in-place community or a community with an active fuel-mitigation program in place. Mercury has partnered with the NFPA to identify homes that are eligible for coverage and discounts based on location, the company said.

“It’s important to realize that reducing wildfire losses is not just about a single home in a neighborhood,” said Michele Steinberg, wildfire division director for the NFPA. “When an entire neighborhood or community takes collective action, everyone benefits by reducing the threat of a wildfire. Firewise USA is focused on community-wide behavior change over time that helps protect lives and property when neighbors follow the steps outlined in the program.”

Homeowners, condo owners and renters with a California FAIR Plan policy can get a Mercury Insurance difference-in-conditions endorsement to cover gaps in FAIR Plan coverage, including water damages caused by broken pipes, theft, and liability. They will also have the option to get coverage for damages from other perils, including windstorms, hail, riot or civil commotion, aircraft, vehicles, and vandalism or malicious mischief.

“Mercury’s difference-in-conditions endorsement could provide greater savings and even more protection for many Californians,” Li said. “The endorsement can be bundled with a Mercury auto policy for an even larger discount.”

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