Friday, October 26, 2007

First responders to fire... an insurance company?

Wildfires are ravaging homes in southern California this week, but there are a select few homeowners who may be able to rest easy.

They are clients of American International Group, Inc., which offers a Wildfire Protection Unit for 150 ZIP codes in California and Colorado.

The unit has six trucks armed with fire retardant and hoses that respond whenever a fire comes within three miles of a client's home.

As Bloomberg reports, "such protection doesn't come cheap. It's available only to customers of AIG Private Client Group, which serves affluent individuals and their families. The average customer spends $19,000 a year on the insurance, which may also cover yachts, art collections and ransom demands."

It's worth repeating: ransom demands.

About 55,000 customers are with AIG Private Client Group in the U.S.; and about 150 homes have been helped this week.

How much would you pay for this service?

Is it right that some homeowners may lose their house, while a neighbor's home is protected?

-JACKIE SAUTER, Multimedia Editor

Above: Nick Atkins, of the U.S. Dept. of Forestry, hoses down a burning cottage near Running Springs, Calif., Tuesday, Oct. 23. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

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