A worthwhile investment
“We are here to help AAA members and policyholders protect themselves and recover from catastrophic events.” Which, in an age of repeated environmental devastation, is more important than ever, said Hooper.
Contribution also has many benefits of strategic risk management on a business and environmental level. Helping fund the California Wildfire Innovation Fund allows CSAA to invest in a cause that will provide economic benefit in the short and long term. With its involvement with Blue Forest, Vermeer said the intention is to “invest that money in companies that mitigate these disasters and earn a return while also producing all of these social and environmental impacts.”
“Then we return that capital back to CSAA and other investors,” Vermeer said.
Forest health affects literally every person in the state and every industry even if they don’t know it; There’s a reason these companies, including CSAA, recognize the value of this kind of work in reducing wildfire risk and just protecting the nation’s economy.”
Furthermore, Huebner said that by “preparing the forest for a more natural and healthy environmental state, you are better prepared to withstand wildfires when they come and actually use them to thrive.”
“Fire is a natural part of the forest ecosystem,” Huebner said. But we as humans have stopped that for the past 90 to 100 years by trying to put out fires as soon as they happen.
“We have deliberately allowed forests to accumulate to the point where they are overgrown and need to be repaired.”
Reducing the severity of these wildfires will also reduce the spread of complex claims that have proven particularly stressful for insurers and insureds alike.
The health effects of wildfire smoke do not dissipate once the smoke clears. 🩺
But do our concerns about health effects disappear once the sky clears?
Check out this month #Science _ corner About Risk Perception and Preparation by Signe Stroming below. 👇 https://t.co/AfLrTP29bU
– Blue Forest (@BlueForestConsv) March 2, 2023
Create a thriving economy
Another benefit of reforestation and remediation is the ability to build and sustain an industry that will generate meaningful employment.
“While our contribution may only be for several years, the prospects that this investment offers will last for a much longer period,” Huebner said.
“Right now, there is a missing link in the forest processing chain, and this is where we come in to help and provide resources to work on the excess biomass that comes from these projects.”
Woody biomass, while a natural part of a forest ecosystem, can increase the intensity of a fire when it is abundant. This fund will create opportunities for this excess to be removed and transported, where it can then be transported to a bioenergy plant or facility to process the material as an energy alternative or to amend the soil.
During the past two decades, there has been a decline in economic activity in rural areas of California, and the funding is intended to help it rebound to a more prosperous state.
“It’s a really exciting opportunity for climate action to go hand in hand with revitalizing the rural economy and bringing back those good jobs,” said Vermeer.
Envision a more sustainable future
The consequences of environmental disasters are far-reaching in many areas, whether it be the casualty of irreparable damage to physical property or the health effects of excess smoke inhalation.
Being proactive in mitigating the stresses of climate change will impact more than just policyholders with CSAA, but it will consider a broad segment of the population who will benefit from environmentally conscious efforts.
“We want to move upstream and bring benefits to California communities to help raise the quality of life for both humans and nature,” said Huebner.
Insurance companies like us have billions of dollars that we can choose to invest.
“What we want to do is invest some of our assets in a way that is strategically aligned with who we are as a company.”