CM Wildfire Solutions™ achieves 365-day, no-structures-lost milestone

Oct 28, 2021

3 min

Guy A. Russ

Countless lives and facilities protected; $21.4 million in damages avoided


MERRILL, Wis. – It has been 365 days (and counting) since a Church Mutual Insurance Company, S.I.1, customer has experienced fire damage due to wildfire. Even more important, no lives have been lost to these natural disasters that are increasing in frequency. This impressive streak is a direct result of the CM Wildfire Solutions program and the diligent team that administers it. The last time an insured structure was lost to wildfire was in the Glass Fire in California on Sept. 29, 2020. Church Mutual estimates that since Sept. 29, 2020, it has saved more than $21.4 million in facilities damage due to wildfires.


“While we are pleased to have achieved more than 365 days without a building burnt, we know that with the unpredictable and merciless nature of wildfires, it’s important to remain vigilant – especially with potential fires still ahead,” said Guy Russ, assistant vice president and wildfire prevention head at Church Mutual.


Church Mutual’s CM Wildfire Solutions program uses sophisticated technology to track a wildfire and determine its path. If an insured facility is in the predicted path of the fire, wildfire suppression trucks are dispatched to clear nearby debris and, if necessary, spray a fire-retardant gel on the building to protect it. The company also works with its customers to prepare facilities ahead of the fire season and mitigate possible risks to their facilities.


Church Mutual’s achievement is remarkable considering the historic nature of the 2020 and 2021 wildfire seasons. According to CAL FIRE, the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, 2020 was the largest wildfire season recorded in California's modern history. And 2021 has been on track to outpace 2020 for much of the year.


So far in 2021, Church Mutual has:

  • Deployed four trucks to various parts of the same fire at the same time – more than during the million-acre August Complex Fire in 2020.
  • Re-deployed trucks to three different fires due to extreme/erratic fire behavior posing new threats.
  • Quickly added Washington state to its program - and deployed trucks there - while also sending trucks to Nevada and Montana when threats were imminent.


“The next couple of months are shaping up to be challenging as well,” added Russ. “The CM Wildfire Solutions team will remain vigilant in doing all they can to keep threatened buildings protected. Our goal is to ensure our customers can continue serving their communities.”



About Church Mutual
Church Mutual Insurance Company, S.I., founded in 1897, offers specialized insurance for religious organizations of all denominations, public and private K-12 schools, colleges and universities, senior living facilities, secular and non-secular camps and conference centers, and nonprofit and human services organizations throughout the United States. Church Mutual markets most lines of commercial property and liability insurance, including multi-peril, workers' compensation and commercial auto insurance. In addition to insurance, Church Mutual provides a spectrum of value-added solutions that benefit its customers. Church Mutual holds the following honors:

• A.M. Best Company "A" (excellent) rating
• Wisconsin 75 Top Private Company by Deloitte US, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020
• Wisconsin 75 Distinguished Performer: Innovation by Deloitte US 2019
• 2021 Gallup Culture Transformation Award recipient
• 2020 Women and Diversity Award recipient from the American Property Casualty Insurance Association
• Futuremakers Partner by Wisconsin Technical College System
• Celent Model Insurer for innovation and emerging technologies
• Award in Innovation for entrepreneurialism and innovation by National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies
• 2018-2019 Employer of the Year by Northcentral Technical College

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1Church Mutual is a stock insurer whose policyholders are members of the parent mutual holding company formed on 1/1/20. S.I. = a stock insurer.


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Guy A. Russ

Guy A. Russ

Vice President — Innovation and Data

Guy can speak to impacts on houses of worship during COVID, armed intruder prevention, cyber risks & sexual abuse prevention.

Cyber RisksArmed Intruder Preparation and PreventionNew Normal During COVID-19Protection Against Natural Disasters

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