A year after heavy rains led to mudslides and severe flooding in southwest British Columbia, a new poll by the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has found that many residents believe that much more can be done by both the provincial and federal governments to improve the area’s resilience to flooding.
Based on the latest estimates from CatIQ, the atmospheric rivers that caused flooding in southern BC on November 13, 2021, led to $675 million in insured damage. Nearly 20,000 people were forced to evacuate their properties at the height of the flooding.
IBC commissioned Pollara Strategic Insights to conduct a survey among home insurance policyholders in BC. Out of the 801 randomly selected respondents, 88% said that further action is needed to protect communities from the risk of flooding.
Other findings of the poll include:
- 58% approve of the job governments have done responding to the natural disaster events that impacted BC communities last year.
- 54% feel their home is at risk from natural disasters (earthquake, fire, or flood), and believe they have the appropriate insurance coverage.
- Nine in 10 surveyed said it is important for home buyers to have access to a database which provides information on flood-prone areas.
- 68% of survey participants said that in a situation where they may be a risk of flooding, they would consider relocating to a safer area if the government paid market price for their home.
"With over $675 million in insured damage, last year's flooding was the worst natural disaster in the history of this province," said IBC Pacific and Western vice president Aaron Sutherland. "As we continue to see the increasing impacts of our changing climate, it's clear that much more must be done to enhance our resilience to these risks and build a culture of preparedness."
Sutherland added that the province of BC has been a leader in taking action to address climate change and build resilience, noting that last year’s floods were “a stark reminder of the devastating impact [the world’s] changing climate can have and of the urgency to take action.”
IBC stated in a release that it has been leading conservations with federal and provincial governments on ways to improve the resilience of Canadian communities and better manage the costs of flooding for high-risk residential properties. IBC is a member of the Industry Task Team of the federal Task Force on Flood Insurance and Relocation and has proposed options to create a flood insurance program to make affordable flood insurance available to residents of high-risk areas.
IBC’s poll results come after the British Columbia government last week announced that it would invest $41 million to fund flood repair and resilience work.