Hearing Discussed How Modern Technology Addresses Wildfire’s Threat to California Homeowners
Oakland, Calif., March 17, 2022: Zesty.ai Founder & CEO Attila Toth testified today before the California State Senate Insurance Committee in a hearing titled, “Wildfire Resilience: Innovation in Migration.” The intent of the hearing was to analyze the current state efforts to help homeowners protect their homes against wildfire, as well as to educate the Committee on recent technological developments important to insurance rating and risk mitigation. Facing a new era of catastrophic wildfires driven by climate change, the committee looked towards how science and technology will address growing threats to the affordability or availability of insurance, as well as to build resilience into the state’s existing communities.
The hearing featured key testimonies from state officials and industry experts from organizations including Aon, The California Department of Insurance, and American Property Casualty Association. Mr. Toth testified on a panel focused on Emerging Mitigation and Risk Management Tools, where he provided the Committee a deep-dive into how some insurers are using modern technology, including an overview of Zesty’s Z-FIRE™ Scoring Model, to assess wildfire risk in ways that support a healthy insurance market.
In his statement, Attila Toth addressed the need to move beyond the outdated tools that are still being used across the state, towards modern tools built on novel data sources, including satellite & aerial imagery. “Unfortunately, the current California homeowners insurance market is not healthy because we are using 30 year-old tools to understand a recent change in weather phenomenon,” stated Attila Toth during his testimony. “New losses and new risks are bringing the insurance industry to the breaking point. And if we only had decades-old tools to fight the crisis, we’d probably lose...Some insurers are leaving California because they cannot account for the new risks of wildfire. Others have partnered with Zesty.ai and have been able to expand in California.”
Attila Toth also referenced a few key examples from actual homes and fires, where risk mitigation efforts saved property and livelihoods, further demonstrating how Z-FIRE is being used by the industry to make insurance and homes more resilient to wildfire. He also spoke to the importance of insurance providers utilizing science-backed models when looking at a property in order to get an accurate view of risk. “By incorporating science-backed details like overhanging vegetation, roof material, neighborhood density, slope, proximity to firefighting services, and ease of suppression, our model determines wildfire risk absent the bias and inequities introduced by human analysts or inspectors. Just real fires, real damage, and observable property features.”
Z-FIRE currently provides wildfire risk scores for all properties in the US, and has already been approved in multiple rate and underwriting filings across most wildfire-prone states, making it the most widely adopted AI-powered wildfire risk model in the industry.