Why can’t Canadians get overland flood insurance?
Published Monday, June 24, 2013 9:55PM EDT
Flood victims in southern Alberta hoping to make insurance claims to cover damage to their homes could be out of luck.
Most insurance policies in Canada don’t cover damage caused by water that comes in through doors and windows -- known as “overland flooding.”
“The costs, the premiums would be very high,” Pete Karageorgos of the Insurance Board of Canada told CTV News.
“Thus, you have governments in the U.K. and the U.S. and in other areas that might have flood programs typically funded by governments, the federal governments.”
However, Calgary southeast MP Jason Kenney said Monday that Ottawa has no plans to implement a federal flooding program.
“It’s not the role of the federal government to get into negotiating people’s individual claims or policies they may have with insurance companies,” he said.
Manitoba residents were offered an option to buy flooding insurance about a decade ago, but the premiums were so expensive that few individuals purchased it.
“Where it’s such a small percentage of policy holders that live in flood zones or flood-prone areas, that it doesn’t make it feasible or affordable,” said Andrew McNair of the Insurance Brokers Association of New Brunswick.
The Alberta government announced on Monday that it will provide $1 billion in funding to help flood recovery. The money will be used to run relief centres, rebuild infrastructure and support people who have been evacuated, according to Premier Alison Redford.
Displaced residents will also be provided with pre-loaded debit cards to cover day-to-day costs and home repairs, she said. Those who qualify will receive $1,250 per adult and $500 per child.
As for a federal contribution, with 23 communities still under a state of emergency across the province, the government isn’t in a position to say, Kenney said.
“We don’t really have an estimate on that yet,” He told Power Play. “We’re still dealing with the crisis element of this.”
Once the dust has settled, it will be up to the province and effected municipalities to essentially figure out what needs to be done and submit their expenses to the federal government, he said.
Kenney said Ottawa can reimburse up to 90 per cent of eligible expenses.
“We will be there in a very major way financially but we do not get involved at the front end,” Kenney said.
Evacuation orders have been lifted and thousands of Calgary residents have returned home to flooded basements and furniture damaged beyond repair.
“We’re starting to get a very, very rough picture of the amount of damage in people’s homes, as well as a rough picture of the amount of damage to public infrastructure,” Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi told CTV’s Power Play.
“If there are people whose basements have been flooded, who are working on cleanups and renovations, there’s a new normal. That will take a while.”
With a report from CTV’s Todd Battis