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Special Hazard Zones capture wildfire risk beyond the flames

By Arindam Samanta  |  November 9, 2018

Visualize product noteWildfires

When wildfires hit populated areas, flames may not be the only cause of insured loss. Beyond the perimeter of a fire, smoke and ash can damage properties that don’t actually ignite during a wildfire.

Evacuation orders pose hardships

Official evacuation orders can impose costs on residents forced into temporary quarters, and authorities may restrict access to the area near a fire, potentially leading to business interruption. All of these are possible sources of additional insurance claims.

FireLine®, ISO’s wildfire risk management solution, takes in the big picture—not just the areas with direct exposure to wildfire but also the periphery, where the effects can spill over in ways that are less catastrophic but still potentially costly.

FireLine’s Special Hazard Zones define areas adjacent to wildlands in four distance increments, from a quarter mile up to two miles, also incorporating FireLine fuel classifications of small, medium, or heavy. ISO already designates Special Hazard Interface Areas—comparable in concept—in California. The new Special Hazard Zones cover similarly vulnerable areas in 12 additional western states.

This information complements FireLine scores to help insurers manage geographic concentrations of business and update underwriting guidelines. It’s available through ISO’s LOCATION® database.


Arindam Samanta is director of product management and innovation at Verisk. He can be reached at asamanta@verisk.com