Insurers criticized for Fort Mac restoration hire

Insurers criticized for Fort Mac restoration hire | Insurance Business Canada

Insurers criticized for Fort Mac restoration hire
Insurers are coming under fire by local Fort McMurray contractors, who are unhappy with how contracts for restoration work have been awarded in forest fire cleanup efforts.

A particular point of contention is insurers’ hiring of SPECS Ltd., a consulting firm that has since arranged for only one primary contractor to work on the site; many area contractors feel more should have been done to award work to local businesses to help boost the city’s economy.

Frustrations toward Insurance Bureau of Canada’s senior vice president David McGown and SPECs ltd. COO Andrew Ross were raised by contractors in a city council meeting Tuesday.

While homeowners needing to repair or replace their fire-damaged property can choose to work with SPECS or hire another contractor through their insurers, a local councilman alleges this information is being kept from them. “They’re lying to them,” stated Coun Allan Vinni at the meeting. “That’s what they do.”

Coun Colleen Tatum added that insurers put emphasis on providing the best value for homeowners, which may have skewed their decision making.

However, Bill Adams, IBC regional vice president, says the hiring of SPECS was simply in efforts to reduce the chaos of separate cleanup efforts, referencing the aftermath following the Slave Lake, Alberta fires in 2011.

“All of a sudden you had 12 dozers and 12 dump trucks trying to go through the same street,” Adams said. “It was a nightmare.”

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