"This is our new normal" – IBC CEO on escalating climate risks

She underscores the importance of collaboration

"This is our new normal" – IBC CEO on escalating climate risks

Catastrophe & Flood

By Mika Pangilinan

Celyeste Power, president and CEO of the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), has called on insurers to remain steadfast in their commitment to protecting citizens during moments of challenge and crisis.

In a post published on the IBC website, Power wrote about the past year and how the impact of climate change has reshaped the landscape of Canada’s insurance industry.

Throughout 2023, over 5,000 forest fires ravaged the country, Power stated, resulting in the loss of millions of hectares. Seasonal perils such as floods and heat waves also became persistent issues.

This is our new normal,” she said. “Government, industry, and Canadians have a responsibility to adapt.”

Powers said insurers responded to the implications of a changing climate by introducing innovative flood insurance products over a decade ago. Now, these efforts have gained further momentum, with the federal government allocating funds for a national flood insurance program earlier this year.

“This new government-backed program will help ensure that all homeowners – regardless of where they live, regardless of risk exposure – have access to affordable flood insurance,” she said. “And we’re pushing hard as an industry to help the government get the program up and running as quickly as possible.”

During the program’s unveiling, former emergency preparedness minister Bill Blair acknowledged the contributions made by the insurance industry in responding to climate-related risks.

“In the same spirit, Canada’s insurers are also working with the government to find solutions on earthquake insurance,” said Power.

According to Power, only a few homeowners in eastern Canada have adequate earthquake insurance. As for the west, the costs associated with a significant seismic event would exceed the coverage provided by insurance alone.

“By working together, government and the insurance industry can develop a solution that financially protects both Canadians and the federal treasury – and offers affordable insurance to those at greatest risk,” she said.

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