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Weather events in BC hit insurers and policyholders hard

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Mar17,2024

BC weather events hit insurers and policyholders hard

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Wildfires in the Shuswap and Okanagan regions of British Columbia caused the most of insured losses in 2023, for a combined total of $720 million. (Archive photo)


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In Canada, weather events The extremes of recent years have led to an increase in compensation from insurers. British Columbia is particularly concerned.

According to estimates from the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), insured losses in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan related to the January cold snap totaled more than $180 million. p>

British Columbia was particularly affected, with about $140 million in insured losses, according to Rob de Pruis, national director of consumer relations and insurance. #x27;BAC industry.

This is the latest episode in a series of exceptional weather phenomena that have occurred in recent years. These highlighted concerns about the rising cost of weather-related disasters and the rising cost of insurance coverage for insurers and taxpayers, according to Rob de Pruis.

Between 2001 and 2010, Canadian insurers recorded an average of $675 million per year in weather-related losses, while today they exceed $2 billion per year, according to the IBC. p>

Extreme weather events in 2023 caused more than $3.1 billion in insured losses across Canada, making it the fourth costliest year never recorded.

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Wildfires in the Shuswap and Okanagan regions of British Columbia caused the most insured losses in 2023, for a combined total of $720 million.

Not only are these events more numerous, they are more serious and homes and businesses are significantly affected, says Rob de Pruis.

Fire damage, including wildfires, is covered by most home insurance policies, according to the IBC.

If the insurer does not offer coverage for extreme weather events, British Columbians can opt for the federal Canada Safety Agreements program. Disaster Financial Assistance (DFAA). To do this, the provincial government must first declare the event eligible.

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British Columbia had been affected by extreme flooding in 2021.

This program was made available to communities in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia who were impacted by devastating flooding and landslides in November 2021.

A Canadian Press analysis of Disaster Financial Assistance Agreement data shows it takes an average of seven years for all disaster aid to be disbursed – and even 10 to 15 years in some cases.

As weather disasters become more frequent, there is increasing demand on the insurance market, says Andrew Janzen, an insurance broker based in South Surrey.

Extreme weather conditions really create challenges from an insurance perspective […] this results in fewer options and increased costs for consumers, adds -he.

Home insurance and mortgage insurance increased by an average of 33% between April 2018 and April 2023, according to Statistics Canada.

Some insurers are withdrawing from areas they consider high risk, even assures Andrew Janzen.

This is the case with flood insurance, which is generally available to homeowners located outside flood zones, but not to those whose property is in an area considered high risk. /p>

Last year, Ottawa allocated $31.7 million to Public Safety Canada – the federal Department of Public Safety – and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to establish Canada's first national flood insurance program.

This program aims to protect homes most exposed to the risk of flooding. However, he hasn't made much progress, according to Brad Vis, Conservative MP for Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon.Tim Warmington, spokesperson for Public Safety Canada, assures that the government will reconvene a working group to discuss with the insurance sector, the provinces and the territories.

In its budget revealed in February, the British Columbia government allocated $405 million over 4 years to manage the effects of climate change and related emergencies.

Amine Ouazad, an expert on climate risks in mortgage markets, says the province needs to spend more money on disaster risk preparedness and disaster recovery.

It's a good start, but it's only a moderate amount when you consider the cost of previous natural disasters in British Columbia, says Amine Ouazad.

It is prudent for homeowners to adapt their homes in anticipation of flooding and wildfires, he adds.

Meanwhile, with the global weather phenomenon El Niño, forecasts indicate that 2024 could be even warmer.

There doesn't seem to be any break for severe weather, warns Rob de Pruis.

With information from Shaurya K Kshatri

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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