The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has noted that more Canadians have flood insurance than ever before, but has also recommended that something more has to be done for those homeowners living in high flood risk zones.
IBC vice-president of federal affairs Craig Stewart revealed that since its initial offering in 2015, a third of Canadians have taken overland flood insurance – a type of coverage for damage caused by rising water levels instead of sewer backups or roof seepage.
Despite the high adoption rate for overland flood insurance, Stewart warned that homeowners in high-risk flood zones have limited options.
“Presently there really is not affordable high-risk insurance available for those that are going to be at repeated risk of flooding,” he told CTV News in an interview.
Stewart, who led a taskforce of insurers, realtors and local governments, had presented several recommendations to ministers earlier this year to protect homeowners living in high-risk flood zones. One recommendation that has been gaining traction as of late is the option for both the federal and provincial governments to incentivize relocations for vulnerable homeowners.
“For those that are at repeated risk, we are recommending to governments that they take a hard look at strategic retreat, getting those people out of harm’s way,” he said.
According to the vice-president, any official final solution based off the recommendations of the taskforce will likely be unveiled a year from now. But until then, homeowners facing repeated flood risks have few options.
Stewart mentioned that some of those high-risk homeowners have even turned to putting their homes on stilts – an unconventional tactic that he recommends.
“Or you just absolutely reduce your risk by either moving or just making sure you’re taking everything out of your low-lying area or your basement that’s going to reduce any future claim,” he suggested.