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Wildfire Defense Systems

Opt-out wildfire response benefit at no additional cost.

Man sweeps his front yard.

What is the Wildfire response benefit?

Effective September 27, 2021, Safeco is offering an opt-out wildfire response benefit at no additional cost to all Washington and Oregon homeowner and Landlord Protection® policyholders. Policyholders are automatically enrolled but have the option to opt out if they wish to do so.

Why was the wildfire response benefit created?

We have received feedback regarding the desire to provide an option to auto enroll customers into this exciting program and we were able to set this up for Washington and Oregon. This opt out program will help keep us competitive and proactive in assisting our customers through a potential wildfire event.

Who is Wildfire Defense Systems, Inc (WDS)?

Wildfire Defense Systems (WDS) is the largest insurance wildfire response service in the nation, encompassing a 20-state service area and specializing in wildfire education, risk mitigation and loss prevention, and wildfire response services.

What lines of business are included?

Homeowner and landlord protection policies are eligible. Condominium and renters policies are not eligible for this benefit.

When do customer letters mail?

Customer letters and opt out forms began mailing Wednesday, Feb 16th to eligible customers, informing them of this benefit for services.

What about new business?

New business customers will receive the customer letter and opt out form in the mail as well. In the future, these forms will begin generating within the new business application packet. The LSC will be included in internal communication to promote the benefit.

When/how are the WDS services triggered?

WDS may deploy services to the property when they determine that wildfire activity has the potential to threaten the property.

There may be instances when WDS will not be able to provide their services, such as when an area becomes too dangerous for their firefighters to enter. Therefore, we cannot guarantee that the services will be provided or that they will prevent damage from occurring.

Opting out of the benefit does not disqualify any part of the customer insurance contract and will have no impact on the claims process, should the property be damaged or destroyed as a result of the fire.

What Wildfire response services are offered during an event?

Some of the services they provide include:

  • Non-destructive fuel mitigation around the property
  • Removal of combustible items or furniture around the outside of the home
  • Sprinkler system set‐up
  • Sealing non‐mechanical home vents with fire resistive tape
  • Application of non-hazardous and biodegradable fire‐blocking gel and/or retardant
  • Protecting structures from post‐fire residual threats

Do I need to contact WDS when a wildfire occurs?

WDS monitors wildfire activity 365 days a year and will respond to wildfires threatening properties. There is no need to contact WDS when a wildfire occurs and WDS is unable to respond to individual policyholder inquiries.

My property is not at risk of wildfire, why are you providing me this service?

The areas affected by wildfire are increasing at a rapid pace due to higher temperatures, drying conditions, and urban expansion. We want to do our part in helping you protect your home from the growing threat of wildfire.

What is a Fire Blocking-Gel barrier and how is it used?

Fire blocking gel is a non-toxic and biodegradable, fire-preventing and heat-absorbing Class A fire-retardant gel that WDS may use to help protect your home and property. The gel particles adhere directly to a house or structure and quickly extinguish any flames or burning materials that come into contact with the gel. It creates a gelled water barrier that effectively helps protect a home or structure for several hours and may prevent a home or structure ignition. It can be rehydrated to extend effectiveness, as needed.

The gel is used as a last resort when fighting a fire. It is proven to be effective as it also adheres to smooth surfaces such as glass. Once the wildfire threat has passed, the gel is removed, typically using a light washing process with water. The gel is safe for homes and the environment: it is about 98% water and can be used on all types of trees and vegetation.

Will WDS perform clean up when needed, such as wash away the gel, unseal vents and move furnishings back to their original location?

Yes. Once there is no further threat of wildfire, WDS will typically return to the properties they serviced to perform clean-up of fire blocking gel from structures, remove vent coverings, and move furnishings back to their original location.

Does WDS coordinate with local emergency response services?

Yes. WDS works with local, state and federal fire response teams and incident command to coordinate access to, and response efforts for, a wildfire incident. WDS services do not replace local, state and federal emergency response services.

How do I know if my property has been serviced by WDS?

WDS will typically provide a door hanger or other material notifying the property owner that their property has been serviced.

How do I opt out of the WDS wildfire benefit?

Customers need to sign and return the opt out form in order to be removed from the program. There is not an electronic version for them to e-sign.

Will there be agent communication?

Yes, the following agent communications are planned.

  • 09/21: Agent News Article will go out to agents
  • 09/27: Bulletin posted on Safeco Now (WA & OR pages)
  • 10/05: Reminder article publishes in Agent News

How can I help support this pilot?

Please encourage agents to remind customers to update their contact information within our systems. Also, encourage agents to promote this added benefit at no cost to all new business homeowners and landlord protection policyholders.

What does the agent need to do (i.e. if they get an opt out form returned to them)?

For the pilot, they only way to get the form imaged is to have it returned to our specific mailboxes. If the pilot is successful and we move forward in launching this in other states, we will look to have an electronic way of opting out and avoiding as much paper mailing. Agents should forward any forms received to Safeco Insurance, PO Box 704000, Salt Lake City, UT 84170-9900.

WDS Wildfire benefit only available in WA and OR.