Canada – Insurance Body Calls for National Flood Action Plan After Costly Spring 2019 Floods

In the wake of yet more costly floods in Canada, the country’s insurance industry body is calling for politicians to commit to a National Flood Action Plan.

Flooding in New Brunswick, Canada, after snowmelt caused the St John River to overflow, April 2019. Photo: Canadian Army

The spring flooding that took place in late April and May across Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick caused around Can$208 million in insured damage, according to Catastrophe Indices and Quantification (CatIQ) Inc. Insured damage is estimated at $74 million in Ontario, $127 million in Quebec and $6 million in New Brunswick.

Home insurance was the highest insured damage at around Can$160 million. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), 9,800 homes were affected by floods in Québec, 6,800 in New Brunswick and 2,000 in Ontario.

Businesses were also affected, with insurance costs around Can$40 million. Flooding also damaged vehicles, with auto insurance costs of around Can$10 million.

IBC said the most common cause of damage was overflowing rivers, which led to road and basement flooding, submerged vehicles and shifted home foundations. Heavy rain also caused roof leaks and sewer backups.

National Flood Action Plan

As the financial cost of a changing climate rises and as Canadians head to a federal election, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is advocating that all political parties in the upcoming federal election commit to a National Action Plan on Flooding.

The Action Plan would prioritize citizen awareness and education on the risk of flooding, relocating and protecting those at the greatest risk of repeated flooding, developing high-risk insurance mechanisms for those residents remaining in high risk areas and denying disaster assistance to new buildings in floodplains.

Crucial to all of this is increased investment from the federal government in mitigating the future impacts of extreme weather and building resilience to its damaging effects.

IBC said that it is not only insurers who foot the bill for severe weather damage. For every dollar paid out in insurance claims for homes and businesses, Canadian governments and their taxpayers pay out much more to recover public infrastructure damaged by severe weather.