Nova Scotia flooding one month on – what is the claims picture?

Adjuster gives updated view on claims

Nova Scotia flooding one month on – what is the claims picture?

Catastrophe & Flood

By Gia Snape

Cleanup after last month’s destructive flooding in Nova Scotia will be continuing for some time, but loss adjusters are getting a clearer picture of claims there.

At least one adjuster has noted that damage in the recent flooding event was more isolated compared to Hurricane Fiona, limiting the potential number of claims.

“Damage due to flooding was isolated to specific areas, whereas Fiona’s damage impacted multiple areas and provinces, not only in the province of Nova Scotia, but in neighbouring provinces of Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland,” said Mary Ann Anderson, vice president national sales & Atlantic Canada operations, Sedgwick.

July’s flooding was centralized in greater Halifax and surrounding areas, with additional flooding in the Cape Breton region.

“The scope of damages also differs,” Anderson told Insurance Business. “The impact to properties from water damage verses wind, resulted in differing property damage. The water damage was primarily contained to the basement areas with a few exceptions. Fiona’s damage combined wind and water and was more widespread.”

Loss adjustment and restoration resources ‘stretched’

The severity of flooding in July has brought comparisons to last year’s disaster, which left a trail of devastation in Nova Scotia and nearby provinces.

Insured losses from Hurricane Fiona have been pegged at more than $800 million, but the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has warned that true damages could run well into the billions of dollars. The powerful storm is considered the costliest weather event to hit Atlantic Canada.

The latest flooding event has stretched local resources, according to Sedgwick Canada. The firm has mobilized experienced property adjusters from other areas of the country to support local professionals and ensure service for its clients.

Similarly, restoration resources are “at maximum,” according to Anderson, though teams are prioritizing and addressing emergency needs.

Sedgwick Canada also noted that the flooding event has resulted in uninsured losses that are being addressed under the provincial disaster relief program.

“Insurance policies respond to many different perils, however, without specified endorsements for sewer back up and or overland flooding, some losses are not covered under the insurance policy,” said Anderson. “This will need to be given consideration under the government programs.”

The Nova Scotia flooding has led to further calls around the need for widespread flood coverage in Canada. The IBC has been working with the federal government to roll out a national flood insurance program by April 1, 2025.

Supply chain, labour challenges to impact Nova Scotia recovery

Even with the best efforts by restorations teams, the supply chain could drag recovery and rebuilding efforts in Nova Scotia.

“Recovery timelines remain impacted by previous supply and demand challenges that predated the latest flooding event,” Anderson said.

Another adjusting firm, Crawford & Company, earlier told Insurance Business it expected recovery to take years.

“With events like this, we typically expect that it will take years to rebuild the infrastructure that was damaged,” said Heather Matthews, Crawford chief client officer for Canada.

More loss adjusters needed as Canada faces more extreme weather

Sedgwick Canada emphasized the need for more loss adjusters to buffer the insurance industry’s capabilities, as severe weather events ramp up in scale and severity.

“The adjuster’s role is to help people in times of their greatest need,” said Anderson. “Our teams and fellow industry colleagues are stepping up and answering the call to duty. 

“Weather patterns are creating significant events across the country and teams are responding. Experiencing such adverse weather is placing strain on resources.”

Are you a broker in Nova Scotia? Share your take on the flooding aftermath and recovery below.

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