California Fires: Building Resilience From the Ashes

Taking advantage of the launch of California Fires: Building Resilience From the Ashes, Adam Kerns and Lynne Grinsell of Zurich’s State Government & Industry Affair’s team set out on a roadshow that engaged policymakers and regulators alike in the efforts we can take to make our communities more resilient to wildfires.

Adam and Lynne traveled to Sacramento to socialize the report with state legislators who represent the areas ravaged by the wildfires, as well as with members and staff of the Senate and Assembly Insurance Committees. They praised the legislators for taking a leadership role in the U.S. on wildfire hazard and risk and offered the report and its key findings and recommendations as a way to further persuade their constituents of the need to invest in resiliency measures. “The many lessons learned from the review could provide a starting point for meaningful legislation, continuing the state’s work on wildfire resilience,” said Adam Kerns. He also pointed out: “Not only were the legislators impressed with the report, they also showed great interest in ZNA’s overall efforts towards resilience and sustainability.”

Adam and Lynne also met with members from the Fire Safe Council to discuss future steps that could be taken to enhance community resiliency. Lynne began the meeting by reiterating that “the future of resiliency includes the efforts of residents to create ways for their communities to band together, prepare together, and create defensible space in and around their homes and workplaces.” Meetings with the California Department of Insurance brought about an understanding of ZNA’s expertise in the resiliency space and a renewed interest in working together on topics of resiliency and sustainability in the future.

Adam and Lynne then traveled to Charlotte, North Carolina, to attend the National Council of Insurance Legislators meeting and to discuss the report with legislators all over the country. At the Special Committee on Natural Disaster Recovery, Lynne presented the key findings of the report and focused on the need for defensible space around structures, the need to rebuild smartly, and the idea that communities need to join together to create a plan to prepare for the inevitable wildfire. She also asked them to take note of the steps that California has taken and applied the lessons learned in their own states. Community resilience means more than one neighborhood, one town, or one county. Entire regions should work together to plan for the inevitable disaster of wildfires.

By: Adam Kerns
Assistant Vice President of State Affairs

By: Lynne Grinsell
Assistant Vice President State Affairs