The Insurance Consequences of Extreme Weather Events
November 7, 2017
You likely can recall the horrific losses incurred in Fort McMurray as a result of catastrophic wildfires. No doubt, you remember the devastating floods in Alberta and Toronto. More recently, overland flooding in Quebec and wildfires in British Columbia have dominated the headlines over the past few months.
To everyone’s dismay, catastrophic events that result in billions of dollars of property claims, are likely to occur more frequently and be more severe in the years ahead. David Phillips, the Senior Climatologist with Environment Canada, has proclaimed that extreme weather events used to happen elsewhere, but now they happen here (in Canada) and more often.
In a time when our changing climate is real, It is imperative home, farm and commercial property owners in all parts of Canada must now do their part in mitigating the risks of fire and flooding. Extremely dry conditions and hot temperatures plus extreme rainstorms are thrust upon sometimes with little or no advance warning. It is no secret that a fire can engulf an entire house in less than five minutes. So what can you do to reduce the risk of fire or flooding of your property?
First, ensure your property is equipped with working fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, and an emergency exit plan. Everyone in your home, barn or office needs to know how a fire extinguisher works and to not ignore the alarming sound of a smoke alarm. Getting people out of danger quickly and safely is also a top priority.
Secondly, most house fires are caused by human error. Careless smoking and dangerous and inattentive cooking can create a total loss of your property in minutes. If you must smoke, do it outdoors in a clearly marked smoking area. Immediately after cooking, ensure that all of your cooking appliances are turned off.
Thirdly, make sure your gutters and downspouts are clear of debris and direct them to drain water away from the house or office. Similarly, the grading of your property must also be completed so that water drains away from the foundation of your building.
Finally, your house must be adequately insured to its replacement cost value. The cost to rebuild your house after a fire or flood increases every year. You don’t want to be in a position where your coverage is insufficient to rebuild or repair your property.
Extreme weather events will be with us for a long time and they are likely to become more severe and more frequent. Don’t leave anything to chance!
Article Written by John Dunton
Erie Mutual Insurance President/CEO
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