Insurance for flood victims: Evacuees encouraged to begin claim process early
The rains may have stopped but the devastation from flood damage in British Columbia will linger for a long time. It is going to be costly and victims are encouraged to begin the insurance claim process now.
In 2015, the Canadian insurance industry began offering overland flood coverage due to increased flood events in Canada. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, about 50 per cent of B.C. property owners have purchased it.
"We do know and we have received reports of overland flood damage, sewer backups, even wind damage," explained Rob de Pruis, director of consumer and industry relations with the Insurance Bureau of Canada. "If you have been evacuated and you do have the overland flood coverage, you also have coverage for your additional living expenses."
Overland flood insurance is also available for businesses and farmers. However, there have been cases where some property owners have been unable to buy flood coverage.
Last year, the provincial government offered financial disaster assistance to victims of winter floods who had were unable to get coverage. CTV News asked Emergency Management B.C. if similar assistance would be available to victims of the recent flooding, but has yet to receive an answer.
What is clear is the cost of climate change is having an impact. According to the IBC, the cost of claims has more than doubled over the past decade compared to the previous 10 years, rising from $600 million to $2 billion.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada says the increased frequency and severity of weather events needs a co-ordinated response.
"We really need to make sure that we're talking about building resilience within our communities and this is something that everyone needs to take a part of, the insurance industry, as well as governments and other stakeholders to help build this resilience to make these communities safer," de Pruis said.