Recorded: April 22, 2020
Duration: 1 hour 4 minutes


Among those impacted by recent wildfires has been California's wine industry, which is the fourth largest wine maker in the world. In 2017, California's wine sales in the US market alone were US$35.2 billion, with 278 million cases shipped in the US and worldwide.

There is also the risk of "smoke taint" on the wine that is produced, potential damage dependent largely on when the grapes were exposed to smoke. The impact of winery losses extends beyond the US and the London Market is seeing significant claims; specialty lines cover wineries' buildings and properties and Lloyd's syndicates provide cover for wine in production and storage.

Naturally caused forest fires are usually started by dry lightning where little to no rain accompanies a stormy weather disturbance. However, human fire activity is the primary cause of wildfires and are reportedly almost ten times more likely to start than natural fires, although most are accidental. The three primary classes of wildland fires are surface, crown, and ground fires. Each classification depends on the quantity and types of fuels involved and their moisture content and will determine how fast the fire will spread.

Insurance coverage is paramount and this presentation will investigate how California wildfires have impacted wineries at varying levels as well as damage to the wines themselves, losses to winery buildings (including storage facilities), water systems, homes, vineyards, landscaping, tasting rooms and wine tourism.

Our speakers will discuss how Californian insurers continue to update their risk models and how non-admitted insurers – such as Lloyd’s syndicates – could see a bigger share of this market. Frequency of wildfires in California, as well as the wide range of damages that may ensue, will see wineries needing to ensure that they have adequate insurance coverage in place. Climate change (seen as potential trigger of these catastrophes) and issues of corporate responsibility will also be included in the discussion.

Who Should Attend: Underwriters, Underwriting Managers, Claims Adjusters and Managers, and all insurance professionals

Jonathan W. Thames, Partner, Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP
Pamela Schultz, Partner, Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP 
Erik Kowalewsky, Partner, Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP

Who Should Attend: Underwriters, Underwriting Managers, Claims Adjusters and Managers and all insurance professionals.

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