The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and USAA announced today that USAA policyholders living in recognized Firewise Communities/USA(r) sites in Arizona will receive discounts on their homeowners insurance premiums. NFPA’s Firewise Communities/USA(r) Recognition Program provided the community action framework and local data that supported USAA’s decision to offer such a discount to its policyholders.
USAA, which provides a full range of financial products and services to the military community and their families, has been working with NFPA’s Wildland Fire Operations Division over the last few years to develop incentives for residents of wildfire-prone areas to take steps to create safer, more fire-adapted communities. USAA members in Firewise communities in Arizona join their counterparts in California, Colorado and Texas in being offered the Firewise discount.
“USAA realizes that reducing wildfire losses is not just about one house in a neighborhood,” said Michele Steinberg, NFPA’s wildland fire division manager. “When a whole neighborhood or community takes action, everyone can benefit by reducing the threat of a wildfire. Firewise Communities/USA is aimed at community-wide behavior change over time that helps protect lives and property when community members follow the steps outlined in the program.”
NFPA launched its voluntary Firewise program in 2002, enlisting the technical assistance of state forestry officials across the nation to reach out to residents and assist in community risk evaluations. As part of the recognition process, residents are asked to come together to address the findings from these evaluations using a long-term plan and holding annual public events, as well as documenting a minimum amount of investment in wildfire safety actions each year.
Jim Salek, USAA’s vice president of underwriting programs and loss prevention, said, “It’s important that individual homeowners take action to reduce the risks of wildfires. However, this is a team effort, and an entire community can benefit when it gets behind fire prevention efforts. We believe the Firewise discount gives communities the incentive to take action.”
Since the start of the program, more than 1,200 communities have enrolled in Firewise and more than 1,000 communities are currently active in 41 states. In Arizona, there are currently 66 active Firewise communities. In 2015, these participating Arizona communities invested more than $1.8 million in Firewise mitigation actions.
To find out more about the USAA policyholder discount for Firewise community residents, please visit NFPA’s Firewise website.