Aviva Canada launches wildfire defence initiative for Alberta and British Columbia

Protective measures also outlined

Aviva Canada launches wildfire defence initiative for Alberta and British Columbia

Catastrophe & Flood

By Roxanne Libatique

Aviva Canada has announced a collaboration with Wildfire Defense Systems Inc (WDS) to help safeguard customers’ properties in Alberta and British Columbia from potential wildfire damage.

This partnership aims to mitigate risks during what is forecast to be an active wildfire season.

What to expect from Aviva Canada’s partnership with WDS

WDS specialists will be dispatched to evacuation zones to protect properties under threat. Their preventative measures include:

  • removing outdoor furniture, wood piles, and debris from around the property;
  • securing entryways, garage doors, and windows to prevent embers and smoke from entering homes;
  • setting up temporary sprinkler systems to dampen areas around properties, reducing the risk of ignition; and
  • applying fire-blocking gel and retardants to properties and nearby vegetation in cases of severe threat.

“As an insurer, we see firsthand the devastation that climate-driven disasters can cause and are proactively taking steps to further protect our customers,” said Susan Penwarden, managing director, personal lines for Aviva Canada. “Several factors, including climate change, are lengthening the wildfire season. We’ve been working with our brokers and other partners to educate customers and all Canadians, so they better understand they can take actions to mitigate wildfire risk and be more resilient.”

Letters will be sent to customers in Alberta and British Columbia to inform them about this free service.

A majority of Canadians are concerned about the 2024 wildfire season

In 2023, wildfires in Canada resulted in $945 million in insured losses, contributing to a total of $3.1 billion in damages from severe weather events. Aviva experienced a substantial increase in claims in 2023, with an 80-fold rise compared to the previous year.

Thousands of residents in Western Canada remain displaced from their homes as wildfire continues to threaten the area. In British Columbia, a vast area around the northeastern community of Fort Nelson is under evacuation due to wildfire near the area.

A recent survey by Aviva revealed that 79% of Canadians are concerned about the 2024 wildfire season, yet only 22% are taking steps to protect their homes.

Aviva’s wildfire safety tips

The insurer is working to increase public awareness of wildfire risks and provide guidance on protective measures. These include:

  • clearing gutters, roofs, decks, and balconies of needles, leaves, and debris;
  • keeping combustible materials like firewood at least 10 meters away from the house or deck;
  • maintaining short grass, raking clippings, and removing dead vegetation; and
  • incorporating ignition-resistant plants into gardens or using rocks and hardscapes to create fuel breaks.

For additional protection, customers can consider upgrades such as fire-resistant roofing and siding materials, multi-paned windows, and new or improved weatherstripping on all doors. More information is available at aviva.ca/wildfirepreparedness and firesmartcanada.ca.

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