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Burns & Wilcox Strengthens Wildfire Coverage Through Partnership with Wildfire Defense Systems, Inc.

Partnership with leading wildfire management organization provides additional layer of protection before, during and after a wildfire

Detroit, Mich. (September 4, 2019)Burns & Wilcox, North America’s leading and largest personal insurance wholesale broker and underwriting manager, today announced its partnership with Wildfire Defense Systems, Inc. (WDS). Burns & Wilcox is the first specialty wholesaler to provide WDS’ full suite of wildfire prevention and mitigation services to homeowners—with no minimum property value required to participate. Services will be available on eligible surplus lines homeowners’ policies in the following high-risk areas: California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

The economic impact attributed to U.S. wildfires in recent years is extensive and ever changing. In 2018, more than 58,000 U.S. wildfires consumed nearly 9-million acres, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. Most recently, the November 2018 California fires resulted in $12 billion in claims. The launch of the Burns & Wilcox Wildfire Defense Program comes at a critical time given insurers’ decreasing appetite for offering coverage in these select high-risk states—leaving many homeowners without insurance or renewal options.

“As leaders in the insurance industry, our retail brokers and agents rely on us for deep expertise and access to markets to address the increasing needs of their clients. We take great pride in delivering specialty insurance solutions to better protect those in times of need, especially when dangerous events like wildfires threaten many homes,” said Bill Gatewood, Corporate Vice President, National Practice Leader, Personal Insurance, Burns & Wilcox. “Now, through our strategic partnership with Wildfire Defense Systems, brokers have access to comprehensive wildfire mitigation and loss prevention services to help safeguard surplus lines policyholders in fire-prone areas.”

WDS is the largest private sector wildfire service in the nation, concentrating in wildfire education, loss prevention and response services. WDS monitors wildfires across the U.S. to determine if specific properties are, or will be, threatened. If a property is threatened, this service allows WDS to respond to the home with qualified resources and personnel to provide potentially home-saving services. Services include sprinklers, fire blocking gel, ground-applied retardant, and other tactics that reduce potential wildfire hazards from around the home.

“We understand there is an increased need for structure protection support in the U.S. and we have the field operation experience to be that reliable resource,” said David Torgerson, President of Wildfire Defense Systems. “By partnering with a well-respected, highly experienced company like Burns & Wilcox, we are able to extend our reach even further and help protect more of the at-risk population.”

Effective today, the structure protection service will be available on eligible new and renewal Burns & Wilcox homeowners’ policies, in the 10 designated states.

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About Burns & Wilcox

Burns & Wilcox is the insurance industry’s leading wholesale insurance broker and underwriting manager internationally recognized for its expertise in commercial and professional liability, property, environmental, marine and personal insurance.

Burns & Wilcox is a member of H.W. Kaufman Group, which has over 60 offices across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom and employs more than 2,000 professionals. Founded in 1969 and headquartered in Metro Detroit, H.W. Kaufman Group also includes: Burns & Wilcox Brokerage, Burns & Wilcox Canada, Burns & Wilcox Re, Atain Insurance Companies, Afirm, Global Excess Partners, R.B. Jones, Stonemark, Minuteman Adjusters, and London-based, Chesterfield Insurance Brokers, Lochain Patrick, and Cranbrook Underwriting. More information can be found at

About Wildfire Defense Systems, Inc. (WDS)

WDS is a national leader in private wildfire services, combining professional wildfire consulting with federally-certified emergency response wildfire suppression services. Founded in 2001 to fulfill initial-attack assignments for the US Forestry Service, the company added professional services support in 2005 and launched comprehensive wildfire loss-prevention programs for insurers in 2008.

WDS provides services to the private sector at a wildfire agency-level scale. WDS covers a 20- state region with highly-experienced personnel, the largest private fleet of wildfire engines in the nation, and an unmatched inventory of wildfire suppression and structure protection equipment and materials. Our mix of professional management and field operation expertise allows us to perform projects and assignments ranging from design and implementation of comprehensive wildfire programs to structure protection services.