News: 2009 Press Release
For Release: June 12, 2009
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner Urges Los Angeles Residents to Prepare for Wildfires
Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner today encouraged Southern California homeowners to protect their assets in the event of a disaster. Commissioner Poizner was joined by Fireman's Fund Chairman Chuck Kavitsky at the Burbank Fire Department, where he advised all local homeowners to proactively prepare for fires and other potential disasters by conducting a home inventory, creating an emergency action plan, increasing defensible space around their properties and updating their insurance policies.
"Waiting for a fire to erupt before making necessary disaster preparations means you could get burned twice - first by the fire and then by trying to recover your losses," said Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner. "I urge all Californians to take these simple steps today to protect their homes and belongings from wildfires that can destroy everything in the blink of an eye."
Last month, the Santa Barbara Jesusita Fire burned 8,733 acres, destroying 80 homes and damaging 15, and the worst of this year's wildfires may still be ahead. Commissioner Poizner urges all homeowners to prepare themselves for fires or other disasters that could strike at any time.
"We know from earlier Southern California wildfires that proper vegetation management and defensible space are critical in protecting homes and other property. We advise that property owners work in cooperation with their local fire authorities to make their property fire-safe," said Chuck Kavitsky, chairman of Fireman's Fund Insurance Company.
Commissioner Poizner urges all homeowners to have adequate defensible space around their property, and to consider using fire-retardant materials and landscaping when building or remodeling their homes. Simple precautionary steps like these can help increase the chances that your home is spared next time a wildfire strikes.
Poizner also encouraged all Californians to establish an action plan in case a disaster strikes. Homeowners should know what types of disasters are likely to occur in their region and use that information to map exit routes and rally points if the family is apart, as well as develop emergency housing plans.
Commissioner Poizner offered the following tips for homeowners to keep track of their belongings and assets before a disaster hits:
- Using a household digital camera and a Home Inventory Guide from the California Department of Insurance, catalogue your possessions and document their values. Photographs of household goods are especially helpful when an item is difficult to describe on paper, or if a purchase receipt cannot be obtained.
- Label photographs with information about each item.
- If a video recorder is used, commentary about each item should be included.
- A copy of the inventory and supporting documentation, such as receipts and model numbers, should be stored in a safe place, such as a safe-deposit box, work office, or a relative's house.
- These records should also include financial documents such as insurance policies and mortgage information.
- A free Home Inventory Guide is available at www.insurance.ca.gov.
- Contact CDI at 800-927-HELP to obtain consumer information guides about additional insurance products, or for any insurance-related questions.
Since taking office, Commissioner Poizner has traveled up and down the state, urging consumers to conduct home inventories and prepare for the possibility of disaster. Last week, Poizner hosted an Insurance Recovery Forum in Santa Barbara to assist fire survivors with the recovery process. Following the November 2008 wildfires, Commissioner Poizner also hosted Insurance Recovery Forums for fire survivors in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties, connecting survivors with the resources they needed to get back on their feet quickly.
Please visit the Department of Insurance Web site at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.HELP. Callers from out of state, please dial 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.
If you are a member of the public wishing information, please visit our Consumer Services.