BC and Alberta’s insurance rates to increase following wildfires, floods: IBC

Insurers are accounting for the repeat instances of natural disasters in two provinces

BC and Alberta’s insurance rates to increase following wildfires, floods: IBC

Catastrophe & Flood

By Lyle Adriano

Residents in two particular western Canada provinces could be looking at higher home insurance rates soon, an industry official says.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada said that due to BC and Alberta being hit with repeat instances of fires and floods in recent years, it is almost certain that rates in those two provinces will be raised.

“No single event can be attributed to climate change, but the fact we’re having increasing severe weather events across Canada fits with the predictive model — the probability of future events is now higher,” IBC vice-president of federal affairs Craig Stewart told CBC. “You can expect that rates will start to rise.”

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Over 14,000 BC residents were forced from their homes by wildfire within the past week. Properties, both private and commercial, were lost to the flames.

Meanwhile, just last month, much of the province’s interior was beset by flooding. Evacuations were ordered in areas severely hit by floodwater.

Such disasters have cost insurers billions of dollars in claims. For perspective, the Fort McMurray wildfire cost insurers over $3.5 billion alone.

Stewart believes that going forward officials can and should do more to help residents protect themselves against natural disasters. The vice-president said that – generally – when it comes to the threat of flood or fire, many are more at risk than they think.

“If you’re living in tinder-dry forested area, you could be taking better measures to protect yourself — from the shingles on your roof to not stacking firewood near your house,” he explained.

“We need to do a much better job of raising awareness and then providing incentives [for preparedness] ... and we need better coordination between our agencies and the governments for that.”

When asked about how high he thinks insurance rates would go following the fires, Stewart said that it is up to individual insurance companies and it is typically “tough to predict” such increases.

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