Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) estimates that the torrential rains and violent winds, which hit Quebec and Ontario at the end of May, caused over $200 million in damage.
The $200 million estimate is a preliminary one compiled by Property Claim Services (PCS-Canada), a service which assesses losses related to catastrophic events in Canada.
During a four-day period, from May 26 to May 29, a major depression caused extensive damage in certain regions of Quebec and Ontario, and especially in Montreal and Thunder Bay, which were the hardest-hit cities. The huge amount of rain that fell in a short period caused sewers to back up and damaged a number of houses, businesses and vehicles.
“While the industry is concerned about the intensity and frequency of these climatic events, it remains convinced that it is important to adapt to them. This is why it promotes awareness campaigns and develops tools that it makes available to consumers and Quebec municipalities”, stated Johanne Lamanque, Vice-President, Quebec, at IBC.
A solution to sewer back-up problems
IBC has developed municipal risk assessment tool which allows municipalities to measure the probability of their infrastructures failing, which could result in sewers backing up. This is a pan-Canadian project, with some dozen municipalities taking part in the pilot project, including London and Hamilton, Fredericton, Moncton and Bathurst, St. John, Newfoundland, and Winnipeg and Coquitlam, British Columbia. IBC is currently in discussions with certain Quebec municipalities, the objective being to have them take part in the project.
Designed in collaboration with an engineering consulting firm, comprised of a multi-disciplinary team of climatologists, hydrologists, risk management experts and civil engineers specialized in this type of infrastructure, the tool uses a series of indicators, and then draws up and identifies zones at risk of sewer back-up using visual images in a given municipality.
Major impact for citizens
“It is the citizens who are home and business owners that will ultimately pay the price if nothing is done. They are not aware what state the underground infrastructures are in, and if these disasters keep recurring, it will be very expensive for them to get insurance. In extreme cases, some could find it difficult to get insurance”, explained Johanne Lamanque.
Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, car and business insurers. Its member companies represent 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. It offers various services to consumers in order to inform and assist them when purchasing car or home insurance, or making a claim.
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