USA — Insured losses from the wildfire near Boulder, Colo., earlier this month total $217 million, which is more than four times as costly as the state’s previous most expensive wildfire.
The preliminary estimate includes claims for damaged and destroyed homes, smoke damage, additional living expenses, and claims for personal belongings and vehicles, said Carole Walker, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association. She said some multimillion dollar homes were destroyed in the fire, but there were few commercial losses and the nearby town of Gold Hill was spared. The fire, which began Sept. 6, destroyed 169 homes (BestWire, Sept. 16, 2010).
Damages well exceeded insured losses from the Hayman fire in southern Colorado in 2002. Insured damages in that catastrophe amounted to $38.7 million in 2002 dollars or $46.1 million when adjusted for inflation.
Walker said the area continues to experience a long, hot fall.
“We still have a huge wildfire risk here,” she said. She added that insurance companies have gotten stricter in requiring policyholders to take mitigation measures, such as removing brush, using fire-resistant building materials, and building retaining walls.
It does make a difference when you’re in the path of a fire, Walker said.