Alberta budgets big for flood mitigation

Alberta budgets big for flood mitigation | Insurance Business Canada

Alberta budgets big for flood mitigation
Flood mitigation has been made a provincial priority by the Alberta government, as it has earmarked $1.5 billion for flood mitigation and recovery programs over the next three years.

The move has already received kudos from the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

“It's no secret we are seeing more severe weather, especially more intense rainfall. This overburdens our sewer and storm water infrastructure, resulting in more sewer backups in homes and businesses,” says Bill Adams, vice-president of the western and pacific region for the IBC. “We know there is need for Albertans to prepare for the inevitable. Property and casualty insurers are collaborating with all three levels of government to help Canadians adapt to these new weather realities.”

Alberta’s budget calls for $700 million for future flood mitigation projects including grants for erosion control, flood hazard mapping, mitigation related to water and wastewater infrastructure, protecting “high priority” areas susceptible to future flood damage and an additional $859 million for flood recovery.

Southern Alberta was devastated by flooding in June, particularly hitting hard the cities of Calgary and High River. Industry stakeholders gathered in that province last fall to discuss Canada's current state of property coverage (Overhaul insurance, says Alberta forum).

Paul Kovacs, executive director of the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction, told forum delegates that in the last decade, Canadian insurers pay five times more for weather-related losses than for other perils like auto and fire damage and property theft.

“2013 was a record year for insured damages across Canada and last summer's southern Alberta flooding was the costliest insured disaster in our country's history,” says Adams. “We support initiatives that build resilience and help the many communities across the province affected by recent natural disasters.”