Okanagan spared from flooding, but residents consider flood insurance

Okanagan spared from flooding, but residents consider flood insurance | Insurance Business Canada

Okanagan spared from flooding, but residents consider flood insurance
A severe weather event that was anticipated to hit the Okanagan region late last week fortunately never came to pass – but it has convinced residents to seriously consider securing flood insurance for their properties.

“The big weather system that was supposed to come through Thursday and Friday kind of skirted around us - so that was good news for us over the weekend,” said Jody Foster of the Emergency Operations Centre for the Central Okanagan. 

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High steamflow advisories were issued for a number of rivers across the Okanagan region, downgrading a couple from the flood watch. Foster also told CBC that officials are still assessing the risk at Okanagan Lake. The lake’s water level is just 35cm below the flood mark, and much of the lake’s snowpack has yet to melt.

Alarmingly, the region’s creeks continue to add water.

“Even though the creeks are of reduced concern, you need to leave sandbags in place,” Foster warned.

With flooding a very real possibility in Okanagan, some homeowners have finally considered purchasing overland flood insurance, CBC reported.

“We’ve seen things like severe weather events happening more and more ... The 2013 floods in Alberta were really a wake-up call in our industry. We know these events are going to happen, and they’ve been happening with increased frequency because of our changing climate,” commented Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) Pacific Region vice-president Aaron Sutherland.

Sutherland noted that although 90% of all homeowners in Canada would be able to purchase overland flood insurance, not everyone will be eligible.

“Insurance prices are based on risk, so it will vary on that,” he explained. “About 10% of homeowners can’t get flood coverage because their homes are at high risk of flooding.”

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