Red Cross says nearly $300M raised for Fort McMurray after fire

By John Cotter in Edmonton

FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. _ The Canadian Red Cross says $299 million has been raised to help with recovery from the Fort McMurray wildfire, with some money earmarked for people who can’t make their mortgage payments or didn’t have enough insurance.

Red Cross CEO Conrad Sauve said this “unprecedented outpouring of support” included $165 million donated by Canadians to the charity.

The federal government contributed $104 million to match funds donated made by individual Canadians and the province matched $30 million given by individual Albertans.

“Canadians were touched by seeing fellow Canadians being evacuated and the fire and responded tremendously,” Sauve said Wednesday. “We have got donations from every part of the country.”

The total far exceeds the $45 million people donated in 2013 for the catastrophic floods in southern Alberta and $14.8 million for the rail disaster in Lac Megantic, Que.

On May 3 the massive wildfire fire forced the evacuation of almost 90,000 people from the Fort McMurray area.

The flames destroyed 2,400 homes and buildings, caused the shutdown of two key oilsands facilities and burned almost 5,900 square kilometres of timber.

Since early June, residents have been returning to the community to assess the damage and rebuild.

Sauve said that to date, almost $200 million has been allocated for the people of Fort McMurray, including direct cash payments of $84.4 million already handed out to residents.

There will be further help for residents who were uninsured or didn’t have enough insurance to cover their losses. Money will be available to help people rebuild their homes, make rent or mortgage payments and to replace furniture, appliances and household goods.

“The Red Cross _ we don’t pass a judgment on why people need help,” Sauve said.  “We help those in need that is the humanitarian imperative of what we do.”

Another $50 million will be given to charities, including food banks, which have been helping to feed people in Fort McMurray and residents who fled to other communities in Alberta.

About $30 million is being set aside to help small businesses recover and $12 million will be spent on community resiliency and fire prevention.

Municipal Affairs Minister Danielle Laravee said details on how this money will be spent will be released in the coming weeks.

An organization that keeps tabs on how charities spend donations praised the Red Cross for its handling of the Fort McMurray disaster.

Greg Thomson of Charity Intelligence Canada said the Red Cross has been open about its spending and has moved quickly to get money to people who need it.

Thomson said in the first three months since the wildfire the charity has allocated just over half of the donations more quickly than the Alberta floods and Lac Megantic.

“We are quite pleased with the way the Red Cross has handled this significant amount of donations,” Thomson said from Toronto.

“We are certainly looking for as much disclosure as possible.”

The Red Cross said it typically issues donor reports following a major fundraising appeal at the one-month, three-month, six-month, one-year, two-year and three-year mark on how money has been allocated and spent in response to a disaster.

The charity said it also posts audited financial statements for major funding appeals such as the Alberta wildfire on its website.

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Hail and Rainstorms in Prairies cost $50 million in insured damage

Press Release:

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) reports that a severe storm that swept across the prairies last month has resulted in more than an estimated $50 million in insured damage according to Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ).

The warm, humid air mass that crossed the region between June 28 and 30 resulted in multiple severe thunderstorms, heavy rainfall causing localized flooding, strong winds gusting over 100 km/h, intense lightning, significant hail in Okotoks and a small tornado nearPonoka, Alberta.

“Storms like this bring the message home that we are seeing more extreme weather events and resulting damage to property,” said Bill Adams, Vice-President, Western and Pacific, IBC. “To help Canadians protect their property, the insurance industry continues to share information about emergency preparedness and create new products that offer Canadians more choice and flexibility in protecting their homes.”

While most of the damages occurred in Alberta, claims were also reported in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Adams encourages those affected by these severe weather events to speak with their insurance representatives if they have questions about their coverage. For more information, call IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada
Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.

P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 120,000 Canadians, pays $8.2 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $49 billion.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC’s Media Centre at www.ibc.ca. Follow IBC on Twitter @InsuranceBureau and@IBC_West or like us on Facebook. If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.

About CatIQ
Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ) delivers detailed analytical and meteorological information on Canadian natural and man-made catastrophes. Through its online subscription-based platform, CatIQ combines comprehensive insured loss indices and other related information to better serve the needs of the insurance and reinsurance industries, public sector and other stakeholders. To learn more, visit www.catiq.com.

If you require more information, IBC spokespeople are available to discuss the details in this media release.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

June storms in Ontario and Prairies cost millions in insured damage

Press Release:

TORONTO, July 19, 2016 – The storms that hit Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario on June 24 and 25 caused more than $34 million in insured damage, according to Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ) estimates. Wind, flash floods and hail hit several areas, resulting in nearly 3,500 insurance claims being filed for damaged homes, vehicles and businesses.

“Storms such as these have been happening more frequently and with greater severity,” said Bill Adams, Vice-President, Western & Pacific, IBC. “Speak with your insurance representative to make sure you have the right coverage to protect your home, vehicles and business.”

In Saskatchewan and Manitoba, hail, strong winds and flash floods caused most of the damage. In Ontario, flooding in the Thunder Bayarea caused the greatest damage. Isolated hailstorms across the region also caused significant damage to homes and vehicles.

IBC encourages consumers to understand their insurance policies and the risks to their properties, and to take action to reduce their vulnerability to damage. For more information on home, auto and business insurance, phone IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.

About CatIQ
Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ) delivers detailed analytical and meteorological information on Canadian natural and man-made catastrophes. Through its online subscription-based platform, CatIQ combines comprehensive insured loss indices and other related information to better serve the needs of the insurance and reinsurance industries, public sector and other stakeholders. To learn more, visit www.catiq.com.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada
Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.

P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 120,000 Canadians, pays $8.2 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $49 billion.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC’s Media Centre at www.ibc.ca. Follow IBC on Twitter @InsuranceBureau,@IBC_West and @IBC_Ontario or like us on Facebook. If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.

If you require more information, IBC spokespeople are available to discuss the details in this media release.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

CNW

Aon empowers cat modellers to run any model on its enhanced ELEMENTS 10 platform

Press Release:

aon_logo

Aon Benfield’s catastrophe model development team, has launched ELEMENTS 10 – its complete catastrophe modelling platform to enhance strategic business decisions. Aon Benfield is the global reinsurance intermediary and capital advisor of Aon plc (NYSE:AON).

As catastrophe modellers play an increasingly strategic role in exploring emerging markets and shaping product opportunities, the ELEMENTS platform enables them to obtain new insights and manage the process from start to finish. This ranges from the ability to use an insurer’s own loss data to customise various model components to extensive reporting capabilities to communicate results to senior management and regulators.

As such ELEMENTS 10 gives modellers the flexibility to import various formats, run any implemented third party model, actively manage accumulations, quantify uncertainty and even provide insights for underwriting colleagues – all on one platform.

A key aspect of the enhanced platform is the increased ease of running any third party or insurers’ own model. For example, modellers can now access flood models from Ambiental, JBA and SSBN or UCL’s tsunami model.  Equally, Impact Forecasting models are also being used on other platforms – including ImageCat, Spatial Key and Opta, with the latter incorporating Canada flood data into its iClarify™ tool to improve underwriting.

Adam Podlaha, Global Head of Impact Forecasting, commented: “We are taking collaboration to the next level and empowering catastrophe modellers to have complete control over the process from start to finish – in addition to providing a wide model selection. Having pioneered transparent modelling back in 1995, we are continuously building upon this to bring additional possibilities to modellers. Now Impact Forecasting has gone a step further with the evolution of traditional modelling for reinsurance to underwriting, new product development and automated accumulation control.”

Stefan Hiemer, Natural Hazard Analyst at Qatar Re, added: “ELEMENTS enables us to have full control of model customisation, which gives us the opportunity to adjust the models in regions where we have additional insights and new information through access to the markets.”

Additional features of ELEMENTS 10 include:

  • New Impact Forecasting models including a suite of new and updated flood models for US, Canada, Malaysia and Poland. The US river flood model has been expanded for pluvial risk in addition to updating the fluvial and the storm surge risks. In addition, the coverage of the European windstorm model has extended to Austria and the Scandinavian countries and to include forestry.
  • Taking it one step further by enabling catastrophe modellers to run any model Impact Forecasting or third party, in the Impact Forecasting or in the Oasis hazard and vulnerability files format. Additional enhancements to the way flood models are implemented using the Oasis model files have led to a significant reduction in space requirements
  • ELEMENTS Explorer has expanded to provide basic model and uncertainty documentation as well as direct access to most frequently used queries with the overall goal to aid the needs of internal and regulatory reporting. In addition most components of ELEMENTS Explorer have been now included in the main ELEMENTS Client software making the access to the tools more streamlined
  • New insights for accumulation control and per policy calculation to support underwriting
  • Ability to run ELEMENTS in-house or on the cloud
  • Up to 40% improved performance through Dynamic Core allocation – plus an improved graphical user interface

Fort McMurray wildfire

By Marc Montgomery | CBC News

The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has released its preliminary report on damage claims from the Fort McMurray wildfire in northern Alberta.

The giant forest fire in western Canada was dubbed ‘the beast” because of its size, speed, the destruction caused and the difficulty in controlling and extinguishing it.

The fire burned into the town destroying well over two thousand homes and other buildings. Over 80,000 people were evacuated from the region.  The fire moved so quickly people were driving out of town even as flames towered about both sides of the highway.

Insurance claims so far amount to C$3.58 billion. This is a new record for damage claims and is  more than twice as much as the previous mostly costly natural disasters, the flooding in Calgary and southern Alberta in 2013 with claims of $1.78 billion.

Claims from that massive flood could have been much higher except that many homes and businesses were not covered for overland flooding. However, the provincial and federal governments paid some 4-billion dollars for a variety of uninsured losses.

One of the other major disasters with insurance claims over a billion dollars was the ice storm in 1998 affecting eastern Ontario, southern Quebec, and parts of New Brunswick. That storm resulted in insurance claims of $1.6 billion (in 1998 dollars)

“This wildfire, and the damage it caused, is more alarming evidence that extreme weather events have increased in both frequency and severity in Canada,” said Don Forgeron, President and CEO, Insurance Bureau of Canada

The wildfire claims include more than 27,000 personal property claims; with the average claim of $81,000. There are also more than 12,000 auto insurance claims, averaging $15,000 per claim. In addition, there are more than 5,000 commercial insurance claims that average over $250,000 per claim.

Climate change causing more disasters

“In recent times, wildfires and flooding have turned extreme and at times tragic,” said Forgeron. ” We must build a more resilient country to better protect those affected by the very real impacts of our changing climate. By taking action now, we can minimise costs to taxpayers and better equip homeowners for the risks and challenges that lie ahead.”

He added more needs to be done in consideration of climate changes including the way homes are built, especially in fire and flood-prone areas.IBC vice-president Bill Adams said, “ultimately, what we are seeing is that our climate is changing. And the long-term trends are directly the result of some of those dynamics”.

Beyond the costs of insurance claims, there are other economic losses from the fire. This includes well over a billion dollars in lost oil production. Then of course, there is the intangible losses in terms of irreplaceable personal items, lost wages and jobs, and the emotional toll on individuals and families.

However, as in previous cases, public funds to pay for firefighting and evacuee relief, police services, and other associated services could push the cost to the public purse into the billions.The total cost has yet to be determined, but the federal government has already announced a $300-million cash injection as part of its Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements programme.

Oilsands companies not expected to make insurance claims from Fort McMurray fire

By Dan Healing

THE CANADIAN PRESS

CALGARY _ Oilsands producers are not expected to be among the recipients of a record insurance payout arising from the wildfire in Fort McMurray, Alta., in May even though some of them had to halt production for weeks at a cost of millions of dollars.

Suncor Energy (TSX:SU) said Friday it doesn’t intend to claim an insurance payout despite losing more than three-quarters of its total oil production for about a month.

“My understanding is that business interruption policies typically require that asset damage be sustained and none of our assets were harmed by the fires,” said spokeswoman Sneh Seetal in an email. Suncor’s producing facilities were instead shut down due to evacuations or precautionary closings of pipelines.

Calgary financial analysts say none of the oilsands companies they report on are expected to file insurance claims for the same reasons.

Experts have estimated that 30 million barrels of oilsands production worth up to $1.6 billion was lost due to the fire.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada estimated Thursday that the wildfire caused about $3.58 billion in insurable damage, making it the costliest insured disaster in the country. About $1.25 billion of that is expected to be paid out through commercial insurance claims.

Lee Rogers, president of Calgary-based Rogers Insurance, said he thinks the insurance bureau’s estimate of wildfire damage is too low.

Rogers said his firm is the largest insurance broker in Fort McMurray and is dealing with thousands of claims adding up to “hundreds of millions of dollars” on behalf of the 100 or so insurance companies whose products he sells.

He said Friday he’s not surprised that the oilsands companies aren’t able to collect business interruption insurance because their policies are typically triggered at a much higher level of loss than similar insurance for small business.

Companies may only be eligible for business interruption coverage if they are down for a certain number of days, stopped by command of civil authority or if there’s physical damage, he said.

Rogers said direct damage from fire and smoke in Fort McMurray will likely account for most of the commercial claim estimate.

The wildfire forced the evacuation of almost 90,000 residents from the region. It destroyed about 1,800 houses as well as buildings containing 600 multi-family housing units, plus two hotels and a 665-room work camp.

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