CANTON, Mass., June 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- While we eagerly await the arrival of summer and dry, hot weather, these conditions heighten the risk for erratic wildland fires, more commonly known as wildfires, in certain areas across the U.S. Called "wild" for a reason, wildfires are difficult to predict, control and contain, often causing extensive destruction. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, 78,792 wildland fires destroyed almost 6 million acres of land in 2009, including commercial businesses and other property. As the potential number of wildfires increases every year, OneBeacon urges businesses to take the following steps to prepare and protect their operations.
- Because roofs are particularly vulnerable to wildfire, choose a Class "A" fire-rated roof covering and be sure to keep it clear of debris.
- Consider replacing single-pane windows with dual-panes, as heat from a wildfire can easily break single-pane windows.
- Inspect vents, gutters and roof-to-wall intersections. Wind-driven embers can enter through vents or ignite debris collected.
- Inspect the landscaping and surrounding vegetation on the property. Reduce the chance of drawing a fire in by choosing rock or gravel mulch and low growing plants or lawns for areas right up against the property.
- If possible, relocate any combustible items to at least 30 feet away from the building and other structures. Flying embers from wildfires that come in contact with such items increase the risk of spreading the fire.
- Review your community's emergency evacuation plans and develop your own detailed contingency plan to ensure the restoration of your business operations in a timely fashion. Be sure to communicate both clearly to your employees.
- In the event of a local wildfire, monitor reports through broadcast or online sources and follow your emergency plans when necessary. Remember, personal safety is most important.
- If you must evacuate your property, secure the building as much as possible. Be sure to close all windows. Open windows can be entry points for embers and can quickly start interior fires.
Additional recommendations are available at the Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) website: www.disastersafety.org.
About OneBeacon: OneBeacon Insurance Group, Ltd. is a Bermuda-domiciled holding company that is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "OB." OneBeacon Insurance Group's underwriting companies offer a range of insurance products sold through select independent agents, regional and national brokers, and wholesalers. The company's ongoing businesses include OneBeacon Professional Insurance, International Marine Underwriters, Entertainment Brokers International Insurance Services, Specialty Accident and Health, OneBeacon Government Risks, OneBeacon Energy Group, A.W.G. Dewar (tuition refund), collector cars and boats written through Hagerty Insurance Agency, OneBeacon Technology Group, OneBeacon Financial Services, OneBeacon Specialty Property, Property and Inland Marine, and AutoOne.
As one of the oldest property and casualty insurers in the United States, OneBeacon traces its roots to 1831 and the Potomac Fire Insurance Company. Today, OneBeacon's specialty insurance businesses are national in scope while personal lines business is concentrated in the Northeastern United States.
Safe Harbor Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995
This press release may contain "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. All statements, other than statements of historical facts, included or referenced in this release which address activities, events or developments which we expect or anticipate will or may occur in the future are forward-looking statements. The words "will," "believe," "intend," "expect," "anticipate," "project," "estimate," "predict" and similar expressions are also intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements include, among others, statements with respect to OneBeacon's:
- change in book value per share or return on equity;
- business strategy;
- financial and operating targets or plans;
- incurred loss and loss adjustment expenses and the adequacy of its loss and loss adjustment expense reserves and related reinsurance;
- projections of revenues, income (or loss), earnings (or loss) per share, dividends, market share or other financial forecasts;
- expansion and growth of our business and operations; and
- future capital expenditures.
These statements are based on certain assumptions and analyses made by OneBeacon in light of its experience and perception of historical trends, current conditions and expected future developments, as well as other factors believed to be appropriate in the circumstances. However, whether actual results and developments will conform to our expectations and predictions is subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations, including:
- claims arising from catastrophic events, such as hurricanes, windstorms, earthquakes, floods, fires, explosions, terrorist attacks or severe winter weather;
- recorded loss and loss adjustment expense reserves subsequently proving to have been inadequate;
- the continued availability and cost of reinsurance coverage;
- the continued availability of capital and financing;
- general economic, market or business conditions;
- business opportunities (or lack thereof) that may be presented to it and pursued;
- competitive forces, including the conduct of other property and casualty insurers and agents;
- changes in domestic or foreign laws or regulations, or their interpretation, applicable to OneBeacon, its competitors, its agents or its customers;
- an economic downturn or other economic conditions adversely affecting its financial position including stock market volatility;
- actions taken by ratings agencies from time to time, such as financial strength or credit ratings downgrades or placing ratings on negative watch;
- the risks that are described from time to time in OneBeacon's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including but not limited to OneBeacon's Annual Report on the Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2009 filed February 26, 2010.
Consequently, all of the forward-looking statements made in this press release are qualified by these cautionary statements, and there can be no assurance that the actual results or developments anticipated by OneBeacon will be realized or, even if substantially realized, that they will have the expected consequences to, or effects on, OneBeacon or its business or operations. OneBeacon assumes no obligation to update publicly any such forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
SOURCE OneBeacon Insurance Group, Ltd.