Toronto, Ontario — Severe weather is on the rise across Canada, all while the nation grapples with the pandemic. That’s why the Insurance Bureau of Canada is cautioning Canadians to plan ahead and be prepared.
“Climate change is already causing more frequent and severe weather events across Canada,” said Craig Stewart, vice president of federal affairs, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC). “Severe hail and wind, flash floods, and wildfire can often occur with little warning. This is why it’s so important to be prepared for the worst. IBC is encouraging Canadians to make sure they take necessary measures to protect themselves, their families and their property from the impacts of severe weather.”
To kick off Emergency Preparedness Week, IBC offered 10 tips to protect you and your property from the effects of severe weather:
- Create an emergency preparedness plan for your family.
- Secure barbecues and secure or store patio furniture indoors when severe weather is in the forecast.
- Park your vehicle in a covered area to prevent damage.
- Stay away from windows, doors and skylights during a storm.
- Do not drive through flooded intersections or large puddles.
- Ensure there is proper grading around your home.
- Update your home inventory and have someone check your property if you are away.
- Install a sump pump, sewer backup or backflow valve.
- Consider using resilient building materials when completing repairs.
- Know your risks and review your insurance policy with an experienced insurance representative.
“Insured losses related to natural catastrophic events have averaged $2 billion per year between 2009 and 2020, compared with an average of $422 million per year in the 1983 to 2008 period. Last year alone, these losses were $2.4 billion. That’s more than a four-fold increase in severe weather events, which are increasingly attributed to climate change,” added Stewart.
Taxpayers and insurers share the cost of severe weather damage. For every dollar paid in insurance claims for damaged homes and businesses, all levels of government and taxpayers pay much more to repair public infrastructure.
Yet, Canada still lacks a national climate adaptation strategy with measurable targets and the accompanying investments needed to protect Canadian homes and businesses from natural disasters.
Canadians continue to experience accelerating financial losses from the changing climate. In 2020, the federal government created the Task Force on High-Risk Residential Flood Insurance and Strategic Relocation.
Through this task force, insurers will work with governments across the country to better protect properties from flooding and to ensure that every Canadian has access to affordable flood insurance. Currently, this is a standalone effort. IBC believes it should be part of a larger climate adaptation plan that coordinates action by governments and the private sector to address the growing physical risks of climate change.