Such is the way Cincinnati combines the best of Data and Personal Connection

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This post is part of a series sponsored by the Cincinnati Insurance Institute.

Insurance magazine Pamela Simpson interviewed Dorothy Sarna, Director of the National Loss Prevention Program of the Cincinnati Insurance Institutions, to find a way for a lender to list high-quality home insurance in California, Oregon, Montana and other states. experience of increased incidence of fire. During this September 2020 interview, more than 3 million acres were burned in California and wildfires were raging throughout the Pacific Northwest as large fires and winds carried hazardous clothing into many rural areas by the end of Labor Day. .

Dorothy Sarna has 30 years of experience in risk management and loss prevention, building her fire technology through training with the National Interagency Fire Center, National Fire Protection Association and FireWise USA. Since joining the Cincinnati Foundation in 2015, Dorothy has focused on risk management and loss prevention for high value assets in the Western United States.

What are the characteristics that will define a high average property?

In Cincinnati, our definition of a decent average home is occupied as a primary home and is valued at $ 1 million or above. That number depends on the replacement cost of that home, not the cost of the product, as our community provides for home replacement in the event of a total loss.

As a result of the catastrophic catastrophic catastrophes that prevailed in California a few years ago, did Cincinnati set restrictions on the insurance of the most valuable human beings in California?

As a result of all the recent lighting work, we have more rights data available to us, allowing us to get a more streamlined approach to the process. Instead of creating restrictions, we developed new sub-guidelines to help us assess the acceptability of forest fires. First, we calculate the risk based on how you design for a forest fire. Once we get a model demonstration, we look at other characteristics that can determine whether a home can survive a fire. These factors include construction materials, terrain, access to, unrestricted space and location and amount of managed land. Those characteristics help us to decide, in conjunction with the model, whether or not we think we should accept or reject the risk.

Can you comment on the risk model technologies that Cincinnati uses for properties in these high-risk areas?

The model contributes to the combination of data from high-resolution geocoding and world analysis with a national risk model based on national risk and risk model to reach predictions of damage and frequency. In addition to providing the grid for distortion and frequency, the model then takes into account personal exposure – fuel oil, power for crown lighting, wind speed, wind direction, smoke direction, road, network, electric lights, system weight, islands oil and more. Air characteristics and availability of oil have become important factors in the model. Winds that carry amber into areas with oil islands or onto properties with flammable plants or debris can damage an area. We saw this with Woolsey fires in southern California in 2018 where nearly 100,000 acres, destroying 1,600 units as embers exploded into the area due to Santa Ana winds.

In addition to each individual risk model, we also manage our risk at a company level. We specialize in very efficient portfolio management to constantly analyze the risk level of this business line.

During the risk reduction or loss prevention inspection in the right common home located in a high risk forest area, what kind of direction or decisions are being made?

If a home is in a high-risk area, we have co-workers who conduct self-assessments – all with 20 years of experience in brush design and forest exposures. First, we want to help homeowners create a seamless space around their home. We help them calculate possible fuel sources at different intervals – immediately circle their buildings, then increase that structure to 30 feet and 100 and to 200 ′ if possible. We are concerned about plants, debris and deciduous trees and suggest those that are cut or removed. The kitchen also includes leather furniture, toys, game designs, pergolas – any combustible materials.

We also look at the construction and the original year the building was built. Current building codes define closed vents and eaves, non-combustible construction, roofs and attachments, but expanded buildings often have building characteristics that do not meet the code and embers can arrive on or near the building, taking fire, or press through an oxygen, causing a house to fire from within. Houses with any external connection of combustion, roof, deck areas or overhang are also very susceptible to damage due to direct fire contact or crops.

Are other fire-related services in Cincinnati provided for high-value homeowners that independent agencies should know about?

We have contracted with Wildfire Protection Systems, a leader in providing emergency response and evacuation services to directors in current fires. When a fire threatens one of our sponsors, WDS defines federally certified firefighters, who are skilled and experienced in institutional and ground fire safety. When access is allowed, these responders can clean the plant, press down on the hot spots, set up temporary feeding programs or, if necessary, use a gel or retardant to prevent the fire from burning the structure.

They are our eyes and ears during these emergencies. WDS sends me updates and photos after they visit each home. With that information, I was able to contact a landlord and say, “I just heard from WDS, your house is fine.” The help I hear over the phone after passing information to a customer about their home is the most rewarding part of my career.

And throughout this process, I’m talking to a sales assistant as well, because they are customer-related. It is very important to let the agent talk about the situation as it is happening so that they can support their customer during a very difficult time. If damage occurs, immediately have our rightful partners. We will be in touch with the landlords and work with them through the whole process of restoring their lives.

As a final question, how would you respond to concerns that the insurance industry could not support continued losses from wildfires in California?

As a company, we have a history of finding innovative ways to help debt reduction and risk management. Cincinnati launched a program that was not accepted in California by the Cincinnati Specialty Underwriters Insurance Company, which gave us another way to conduct high-risk business in California.

We want to continue to support independent agents working with us and to keep recommendations for directors in these high-risk situations. We know we have to constantly evaluate our approach, and to do so, we are investing in the best technology and investing in our staff so that they understand from surgery and risk management perspective, how can be abreast of developments around forest fire risk. Finally, we continue to educate homeowners on steps to take to reduce risks to their property areas and structures. Indeed, we serve our agents and their most valuable customers through a combination of design tools and people.

For more information on Cincinnati’s forest fire program visit

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