American Property Casualty Insurance Association
  • Staff Contact: Nicole Mahrt-Ganley     
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Nicole Mahrt Ganley







May 21, 2014

Keep Memorial Weekend Fun and Disaster Free

Use Caution and Remember to Get Finances and Property Wildfire Ready

CHICAGO – While Americans prepare for backyard barbeques, outdoor fun, and parades honoring those that serve our country, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI), urges homeowners, renters and businesses to not let outdoor recreation spark disaster if you are in an area with dry weather conditions.

“The recent wildfires around San Diego are a fresh reminder that we all need to be careful outdoors over the holiday weekend,” said Christopher Hackett, PCI director of personal lines policy. “Memorial Day is the traditional kick off for outdoor activity and travel. But those events can quickly turn disastrous in a matter of moments. For those in the Southwest and West, be mindful that the lack of rain and extremely dry conditions create conditions ripe for wildfires. However, people in other states should also use a little caution as they hit road for the long weekend.”

The National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) reports there have been 22,863 fires that charred 471,875 acres so far in 2014. Northern Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas are forecasted to have extreme wildfire risk.

“According to NIFC humans cause 62,631 fires each year and 67 percent of fires started in the Southern and Eastern states,” said Hackett. “The recent California fires are good reminders for all homeowners and renters to take a few minutes to get financially prepared for a catastrophe.  Take your smart phone and walk through your home to inventory all your personal possessions.  Call your agent or insurance company to update your coverage.  Make sure your insurance policy reflects your correct square footage.  Taking simple steps now can make a big difference down the line.”

Be Financially Prepared – Do an Insurance Check up

Talk with your agent or company annually to update your insurance policy. You should also update your policy after home renovations and additions and be sure it accurately reflects the square footage of your home.


Understand Your Insurance Policy

Understand what is covered under a replacement cost policy and an actual cash value policy. It is also important to understand that you must purchase earthquake and flood coverage under separate policies.


Make a Home Inventory

Take pictures and make a video of your home’s interior. Make lists of contents in each room. Keep receipts. Remember to video your garage.


Assess Risk

Ask key questions such as do you need building code upgrade coverage, additional coverage for a foundation or additional living expenses.


Create Defensible Space

Clear brush and debris around home, cut trees away from house, clear rain gutters, move wood piles away from home.


Make a Family Evacuation Plan

Take time to plan what you will do if you have to evacuate, plan ahead so you know what you will take, and have items such as medications, photo albums and pet supplies ready.


PCI is composed of more than 1,000 member companies, representing the broadest cross-section of insurers of any national trade association. PCI members write over $195 billion in annual premium, 39 percent of the nation’s property casualty insurance. Member companies write 46 percent of the U.S. automobile insurance market, 32 percent of the homeowners market, 37 percent of the commercial property and liability market, and 41 percent of the private workers compensation market.