Today, The Co-operators announced the addition of storm surge coverage to its Comprehensive Water product, becoming the first and only insurer in Canada to offer it. Waves caused by storms and hurricanes, known as storm surges, present a significant flood risk, especially in coastal regions where extreme weather patterns have noticeably intensified with the changing climate. Until now, storm surges have been uninsurable.
“Overland flooding has been identified as the most pervasive and costliest cause of damage to Canadian homes, yet most are inadequately protected against this growing risk. As a co-operative, it’s our priority to protect the financial security of Canadians. This is why we first introduced overland flood insurance in Canada,” said Rob Wesseling, president and CEO of The Co-operators. “Now, with the inclusion of storm surge coverage, we’re adding another layer of protection and providing peace of mind for those who need it most.”
Comprehensive Water is the only overland flood insurance in Canada available to those at the highest risk of flooding. Homeowners in British Columbia and Nova Scotia can now add this coverage to protect against the most common causes of water damage: overflowing lakes, rivers and creeks, sewer or septic backup, heavy rain and storm surge.
“The insurance industry has a critical role to play in building resilience in Canadian communities and addressing major risks like flooding,” said Paul Kovacs, executive director, Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction. “It’s encouraging to see companies like The Co-operators providing risk-appropriate options for coverage, while taking an active role in educating Canadians on their flood risk.”
According to a study by Partners for Action Network, 94 per cent of Canadians living in high-risk flood zones are unaware of their risk. To get a personalized flood assessment, Canadians can visit water.cooperators.ca.
In 2015, The Co-operators became the first Canadian insurer to offer overland flood insurance in Alberta and expanded this coverage to Ontario in 2016. Today, more than a quarter of a million Canadians are covered by the organization’s Comprehensive Water product. The flood model used by The Co-operators is recognized as one of the most advanced in Canada, and incorporates data on elevation, soil, rainfall, river flow, government-controlled defences like dams and channels, and other factors that help predict areas at risk of flooding.
Homeowners can add this coverage by contacting a local Co-operators insurance and financial advisor, using the “Find an Advisor” function at www.cooperators.ca.
About The Co-operators:
The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian co-operative with more than $41 billion in assets under administration. Through its group of companies it offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products. The Co-operators is well known for its community involvement and its commitment to sustainability. The Co-operators is listed among the Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt and Corporate Knights’ Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada. For more information, visit www.cooperators.ca.
BACKGROUNDER: Flood facts and The Co-operators flood model
- In Canada, floods have surpassed home fires as the costliest cause of damage to homes.
- 94% of Canadians living in high-risk flood zones are unaware of their risk and Less than 30% of Canadians are taking action to protect their property from flood risk, according to a recent study by Partners for Action.
- $79,000: The average cost to homeowners that suffered losses during the 2013 Calgary flood1.
- $40,000: The average cost to homeowners that suffered losses during flooding during the 2013 GTA flood2.
The Co-operators flood model
What factors go into assessing water risk?
Working with the world’s most established and advanced flood risk modeling experts, we created a risk model that enables us to offer water damage insurance that includes overland flooding and risks associated with water, septic and sewer backup, accumulation of water from extreme rain, overflow from lakes, rivers and other nearby bodies of water, and storm surge or waves from a storm or hurricane.
This flood model is recognized as one of the most advanced tools in Canadian flood mapping. It incorporates data on elevation, soil, rainfall, river flow, government-controlled defences like dams and channels, and other factors that help predict areas at risk of flooding.
How is storm surge risk determined?
The risk of storm surge is assessed in many ways. This includes historical water and sea-level rise in coastal regions, digital elevation models and loss mitigation efforts.
Canadians can take action to protect themselves using the following tips:
- Inspect plumbing pipes for corrosion or leaks and make any necessary repairs. Avoid discarding fats, oils and grease down drains; they can cause clogs when they solidify.
- Install a water damage alarm to serve as an early warning. This will give you a chance to turn off the water to your home and minimize damage.
- Installing an automatic back-up pump to your existing sump pump if you have one. Batteries or a generator can be used to power the back-up pump.
- Installing a backwater valve.
- Install downspouts to direct water away from your home.
- Keep foundation and window wells clear of snow so melt water doesn’t accumulate.
- Seal any cracks in your foundation walls and basement floors where accumulated water might get in.
- Install window wells around your basement windows to keep water out of your basement. Check them each spring to make sure drains aren’t clogged with debris.
- Maintain your eaves troughs regularly to keep them clear of leaves, twigs and other debris so they can steer water away from your home.
- Consider using a rain barrel to collect overflow water to prevent accumulation around your home.
- Keep storm drains clear of leaves and other debris to keep water from accumulating outside your home.
- Review rain checklist for simple steps you can follow to adapt to risks during periods of heavy rainfall.
1 2017. “Rising Waters, Difficult Decisions: Findings and Recommendations from the Calgary Flood Project” Mount Royal’s Centre for Community Disaster Researchhttp://www.mtroyal.ca/AboutMountRoyal/MediaRoom/Newsroom/report-unaware-flood-risk.htm
2 A 2014 IBC Survey
SOURCE The Co-operators