USA — Earlier this summer, as the effects of wildfires were being felt throughout the western United States, American National made a concerted effort to educate its clients about the importance and effectiveness of fire mitigation. This effort made a significant difference as the wildfires raged, preventing numerous homes and properties from sustaining major damage.
Fire mitigation involves, among other things, reducing the amount of natural vegetation surrounding a piece of property. Though it sounds simple, clearing dense shrubbery and removing trees dramatically helps to protect the structures on a piece of property from being engulfed in flames. To ensure mitigation efforts are as effective as possible, American National specifically requests that clients who reside in areas at high risk for wildfires follow their state forestry services official guidelines when clearing a defensible space around their property.
Requiring our clients to take fire mitigation efforts isnt always popular. It takes time, money and effort. But its the right thing to do, said James Gillette, senior vice president, actuarial services at American National. Our agents have a history of working closely with homeowners to help them prepare for the worst. Clients have reported back to us instances where firefighters have told them that the only reason their house was still standing was because of their mitigation efforts. We encourage all homeowners to take mitigation measures for their homes.
In Colorado, American Nationals fire mitigation program was put to the test as the Black Forest Fire raged through the state. Fire crews are often forced to prioritize which homes they will try to save when wildfires loom nearby and that decision is often based on the extent of mitigation on that property.
Robert Edgin, an American National agent in Colorado, reported two different occasions where local fire departments told clients the only reason they still had a home was because of fire mitigation efforts. One client sent me a picture showing the scorched earth right up to their mitigation line. Even where the fire did burn on their property, the trees were all limbed up, which kept the fire on the ground and gave the fire crews the ability to fight the fire and save the home. It was also reported that firefighters were able to use two different mitigated properties as their bases of operation and they were also able to use them to build fire lines to protect the respective neighborhoods.
Particularly in the Black Forest fire, American Nationals dedication to helping clients understand and complete fire mitigation techniques made a difference in many lives. Edgin says, Of all of our clients who mitigated and took the time and made those efforts, we only had one actual total loss in the Black Forest Fire out of 500 homes.
American National is comprised of several distinct entities. The parent company, American National Insurance Company, was chartered in Galveston, Texas in 1905. Since that time, they have evolved into one of the largest and strongest life insurance companies in the nation. In an effort to offer personal lines of insurance to its client base, American National Insurance Company established a dedicated property and casualty division in 1973. That company, American National Property And Casualty Company (ANPAC®), is headquartered in Springfield, Mo. In 2001, the American National Family of Companies decided it needed a vehicle to better serve the unique insurance needs of the agricultural market, which prompted the acquisition of Glenmont, N.Y.s Farm Family group of insurance companies.
American Nationals exclusive, independent contractor agents offer life insurance; annuities; property and casualty insurance for personal lines (including auto insurance coverage), agribusiness and targeted commercial exposures; and other insurance services. American National agents serve individuals, families and business owners. Please visit anpac.com for more information.
Products and services may not be available in all states, and eligibility requirements will apply. Personal lines and commercial products and services are made available through American National Multiple Line Exclusive Agents and may be underwritten by American National Property And Casualty Company (ANPAC®), Springfield, Missouri, or one of its subsidiaries or affiliates: American National General Insurance Company; Pacific Property And Casualty Company (California residents); ANPAC Louisiana Insurance Company (Louisiana residents); American National Lloyds Insurance Company and American National County Mutual Insurance Company (Texas residents); Farm Family Casualty Insurance Company, Glenmont, New York; or United Farm Family Insurance Company, Glenmont, New York. Life insurance and fixed annuity products are issued through American National Insurance Company, Galveston, Texas; Farm Family Life Insurance Company, Glenmont, New York; or American National Life Insurance Company of New York, Glenmont, New York.