Canadians at risk of spring flooding once again

By The IJ Staff | April 14 2020 10:50AM

Photo: pxhere

The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is warning residents that warmer spring weather will soon join with snowmelt and spring storms to once again increase the risk of spring flooding across Canada. Provincial Emergency Management authorities have predicted certain communities across the country will likely experience flooding and Canadians should be prepared.

IBC says the most important thing to remember is that during a severe weather event, everyone's priority must be their personal safety and the safety of family and neighbours. It notes that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, emergency responders may have fewer resources, which places greater emphasis on individual preparation.

Need to buy optional packages

A number of Canadian insurers now offer residential overland flood insurance, which, along with sewer backup coverage, helps reduce the financial risk of inland flooding events. But these products are optional and must be added to home insurance policies for an additional premium.

To help protect homes from water damage, IBC recommends that people keep a current and detailed home inventory; assemble a disaster safety kit and create a 72-hour emergency preparedness plan for their family.

IBC says homeowners should contact their insurance representative to ensure their property is protected. While insurance may not be available in person right now because of COVID-19, they can still respond to insurance coverage questions, as well as assist with any claims.

Canada needs an action plan on flooding

“Even while all levels of government are coping with the pandemic, we still face the same risks from extreme weather, especially flooding, that come every spring. Canada still needs a National Action Plan on Flooding as committed to by the present federal administration,” says IBC.

Components of such an action plan include investing in resilient infrastructure to protect communities from floods and wildfires, improved flood mapping, measures to relocate  those at highest risk out of harm's way, and the availability of affordable overland flood insurance to the remaining Canadians at high risk of flooding. 

IBC says that for every dollar paid out in insurance claims for damaged homes and businesses, Canadian governments and taxpayers pay out much more to repair public infrastructure damaged by severe weather.

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