Episode 17 – Discover the Untold Challenges of Insuring Against Wildfires

In this episode, we had the privilege of hosting a true expert in the field, Mr. Bill Gatewood, the global practice leader at Burns & Wilcox, with over two decades of experience in the insurance industry. Bill takes us on a deep dive into the world of insurance, shedding light on the complexities and challenges associated with wildfires, insurance claims, disaster recovery, and more.

Key Highlights:

Weather and Natural Disasters: Explore the ever-increasing impact of natural disasters, including wildfires, on the profitability of insurance companies. Bill discusses the profound influence of unpredictable weather patterns on the industry.

Challenges in Obtaining Insurance for Wildfires: Learn about the struggles faced by insurers, including their withdrawal from high-risk regions. Discover the factors contributing to these challenges, including the unpredictability of weather patterns.

Surplus Lines Market: Dive into the differences between admitted carriers and the surplus lines market. Understand how the latter offers flexibility and creative solutions tailored to individual needs.

Insurance Market Dynamics: Gain insights into the complex dynamics of the insurance market and the importance of supporting carriers in adapting to rapidly escalating risks.

Insolvency Concerns: Discover the alarming truth about the number of insurance companies that have become insolvent due to natural disasters. Understand the vital role played by these companies in providing coverage during crises.

We believe that understanding the challenges and changes in the insurance industry is crucial for making informed decisions about your coverage and preparedness for potential disasters. This episode is a valuable resource for homeowners, property owners, and anyone interested in safeguarding their assets.

Episode Highlights:

  • Introduction (00:00:51 – 00:01:19): The podcast begins with a warm welcome to Bill Gatewood, setting the stage for an in-depth discussion on various facets of wildfires, insurance, and disaster management.
  • Guest Introduction (00:01:19 – 00:01:37): Bill Gatewood is introduced as the special guest, celebrated for his extensive experience in the insurance sector, specifically in personal lines and high net worth risk management.
  • Discussion on Weather and Natural Disasters (00:01:37 – 00:05:19): The conversation kicks off with a focus on the broader context of insurance industry challenges. Bill sheds light on the persistent issue of profitability within the industry, largely due to the increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters like wildfires. He underlines the profound impact of unpredictable weather patterns and the resulting financial strain on insurance companies.
  • Challenges in Obtaining Insurance for Wildfire (00:05:19 – 00:06:39): Bill Gatewood emphasizes that insurance companies have struggled to maintain profitability, leading some to withdraw from high-risk states such as California and Florida. He attributes these challenges to an industry-wide concern about the unpredictability of weather patterns.
  • Surplus Lines Market (00:06:39 – 00:10:04): A crucial segment of the conversation explores the difference between admitted carriers and the surplus lines market. While admitted carriers operate within a regulated framework, the surplus lines market offers flexibility in setting rates and forms. This flexibility enables creative insurance solutions tailored to individual needs.
  • Insurance Market Dynamics (00:10:04 – 00:15:41): The discussion delves deeper into the complexities of the insurance market. The host emphasizes the necessity of understanding the business side of insurance, particularly the challenges insurers face in adapting to rapidly escalating risks. Supporting carriers in making the necessary changes to ensure solvency is seen as crucial.
  • Insolvency Concerns (00:15:41 – 00:18:15): Bill Gatewood reveals alarming statistics, stating that over 20 insurance companies have become insolvent in the past two years, primarily due to natural disasters. These revelations underscore the critical role played by insurance companies in providing coverage during disasters. The host urges listeners to comprehend the business challenges faced by insurers and advocates for collective support in adapting to changing circumstances.

This episode serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of community, resourcefulness, and resilience in the face of natural disasters.



Join the growing community of wildfire enthusiasts and stakeholders, and discover how we can collectively work towards a safer and more resilient future. Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to gain valuable knowledge from the experts in the field.

Thank you for joining us on the journey of fighting wildfires. We understand that we are in a constant battle with mother nature and things seem hopeless when we have to evacuate, leave our homes, and not know what we will come back to. 

On our podcast, we bring experts to educate homeowners, communities, and businesses on what they can do against wildfires. Our team consists of wildfire prevention specialists, retired fire captains, and fire marshals. 

If you’re trying to get educated, find a solution to the wildfires, and do everything you can for your property then you have arrived at the right place!

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