Frequently asked wildfire questions

No! There’s a common misperception about insurers canceling their customers. We’re honoring your insurance policy until its existing expiration date. We’re not ending any coverage before those policies expire, and we're providing as much advance notice of nonrenewal as possible – well beyond the industry standard.
We’d love to do that. But with the number and intensity of wildfires trending upward, the results of new predictive technology tell us the risk is just too high. California and other states that suffer frequent wildfires have developed specialized rating for wildfire risk, and the Northwest might see new rating options in the future. But not now.
We made each decision on a case-by-case basis, after a thorough review of each individual property. We looked at dozens of factors like: property condition, loss history, whether the homes had been Firewised properly, topography and access (for firefighters, how close to water sources). Despite precautions, for some homes the wildfire risk simply remains too high. If you live in or adjacent to forested, hilly terrain, you can do everything right, but even the best-prepared, most-conscientious homeowner could be vulnerable. Picture this: Most wildfires spread via airborne embers, not by direct flame. Perhaps you live in a rural home with just one road in and out, or you have a long dirt driveway too twisty or narrow for a fire truck to easily pass. Perhaps your home is miles from the nearest fire station and farther still from the nearest fire hydrant. Despite your best precautionary efforts, and despite firefighters’ best intentions, access to your property simply is too restricted, or too dangerous.
PEMCO is not the only insurer evaluating homes at great risk for wildfire, but we’re working one-on-one with each of our affected customers to help them find other insurers that can best serve them, making the transition as smooth as possible. We believe being a regional company (PEMCO insures only Washington and Oregon residents) gives us many advantages. At the same time, being local also means our wildfire risk is spread across a smaller territory than national insurers that can spread their wildfire risk across the entire country.
We fully understand if you feel it’s not fair. PEMCO agonized over these decisions. We feel awful about nonrenewing loyal customers. Still, the responsible, hard choice is for us to make these tough individual decisions for the benefit of all our customers. PEMCO is a mutual, meaning we're owned by our policyholders, not stockholders. Since we serve the best interests of our customers and all of our customers share the risk, we must be fair to the entire risk pool, aiming to keep everyone’s rates manageable.