Final fire perimeter showing 18,265 total parcels potentially impacted by the Camp Fire in Butte, County, CA

California’s Camp Fire — Trading the Cost of Disaster

Using a Parcel-Based Inventory to Quantify Wildfire Damage with Satellite and Aerial Imagery

Background — Insurance Linked Securities

Almost three months into the Camp Fire recovery effort, the California Department of Insurance still held seminars and workshops in an auditorium at Chico State to help homeowners and small-business owners navigate their way through the claims process. Filing a claim is often the first step in getting ongoing help, whether that help comes from the insurance company or the government itself, since all outstanding risk must first be quantified.

Complicated to say the least: The mechanism of risk transfer through insurance, reinsurance, and retrocession.
Total outstanding CAT bonds reached $35.3 billion in risk capital through August 2018 — Source
A subset of Butte County parcels categorized by land use and falling within the Camp Fire perimeter.

Source Data and Methodology

In order to build a baseline to track and measure fire related damage, RS Metrics acquired and analyzed 50 cm resolution satellite imagery collected after the fire was fully contained on Nov 25, 2018. The vast majority of the fire perimeter was captured with imagery from 11/25/18 with a small area on the west side from 12/19/18.

Discovering available satellite imagery using ImageHunter from Apollo Mapping
  1. Acquire imagery as near as possible on or after Nov 25, 2018, including satellite imagery and aerial imagery available from the State of California or Butte County, CA.
  2. Obtain and purchase parcel and tax roll data from Butte County, CA with square footage, assessed value, address, and other information as needed.
  3. Determine the number of parcels required for analysis through a geospatial intersection.
  4. Capture the following information for each parcel: 1) Street Address, 2) level of destruction at each property, coded as destroyed, partial damage, or undamaged, 3) Square footage of the parcel, property, and structure, 5) Assessed value of the land, parcel, property , and structure.
Butte County GIS: Camp Fire Public Information Website
Before and after imaged tied to parcel number act as a secondary source to review and assess damage

Summary and Conclusion

Building a custom database allows participants of the CAT bond market to accurately assess and quantify damage on a parcel-by-parcel basis. This database can be used as a baseline to model risks associated with catastrophe bonds and Insurance Linked Securities overall. As these tools become more widely used not just for wildfire, but for any extraordinary event, sufficient levels of risk can be distributed through the entire financial system.



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