The Insurance Bureau of Canada’s president and CEO, Celyeste Power says Canada is becoming a riskier and more dangerous place to live, thanks to climate change.  

Severe weather events in 2022 alone caused approximately $3.1-billion in insured losses, she states in an opinion column published by the association ahead of the upcoming federal budget announcement.  

“As Canada focuses on long-term policy actions to address the causes of climate change, we are moving too slowly to take immediate defensive actions that could better protect Canadians, their families and their property,” Power writes before calling on the government to include the funding needed to set up a national high-risk flood insurance program in the next budget.  

“Insurers have been working with federal and provincial governments for over five years to design the partnership needed to address Canada’s greatest natural catastrophe risk, head on,” she writes. In addition to speeding up recovery and rebuilding, she says such a program would also reduce unplanned disaster costs facing the federal government. “Most G7 countries already have such a plan in place. Canada’s insurers are ready to partner with federal and provincial governments to set up a program for affordable flood insurance.” 

The second initiative the open letter calls for is the finalization of a National Adaptation Strategy, along with funding for the strategy. “Representatives from 30 insurance companies devoted thousands of hours of resources and expertise to support the federal government’s Task Force on Flood Insurance and Relocation. The policy work is complete,” she says. “It’s now time for investment and implementation.” 

Power rounds out the discussion by pointing out that reinsurers are adjusting their prices to reflect new and growing risks around the world, including climate change, which could in turn affect affordability and availability. “The federal government must act now to bring a sense of purpose – and meaningful resources – to its efforts to better defend Canada and Canadians from the growing threat posed by climate-influenced disasters. The P&C insurance industry stands ready to collaborate.”