Ontario: Check for Electrical Damage from Ice, Wind and Flooding

The Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) is advising Ontarians in areas most affected by the ice and wind of the last two days to take a moment and check for damage to their home or property’s electrical system. Even if power has been restored or never went out, you may have electrical pipes/masts pulled away from the building, sagging electrical wires, or water and ice damage. These could be shock or fire hazards and should be repaired.

Looking for Damage

  • Typically, a homeowner’s ownership of electrical equipment begins where the wires attach to the house. This includes the stack pipe and the wires in it.
  • Check to see if the pipe is pulled away from the wall, broken, or detached from the meter base. Look for wires sagging down.
  • If you see this or suspect any damage, contact a Licensed Electrical Contractor to check it and make necessary repairs. A list of all Licensed Electrical Contractors in Ontario, as well as a search feature to find a Licensed Electrical Contractor near you, can be found at www.esasafe.com.

Getting Repairs Done
Only Licensed Electrical Contractors can be hired to do residential electrical repairs. They will take out permits with the Electrical Safety Authority so that inspection can occur and an official record of the work is generated.

  • Once you have hired a Licensed Electrical Contractor:
    • The contractor will file for a permit with the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) so there is a record of the work;
    • When contractors complete repairs, they will notify ESA and the ESA Inspector will confirm work has been done safely;
    • The contractor will get a copy of the ESA certificate of inspection. Homeowners, you should get a copy of this from the contractor or ESA for your insurance company.

Damage from flooding
If heavy rains have caused flooding in your basement, do a visual check (do not go into the basement) to see if water was or is high enough to come into contact with electrical outlets, panels, wiring and appliances. Stay back and contact a Licensed Electrical Contractor immediately to make repairs. Do not use appliances that have been damaged by water.

For more information on these and other electrical safety topics go to www.esasafe.com.

About the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA)
The Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) is an administrative authority acting on behalf of the Government of Ontario with specific responsibilities under the Electricity Act and the Safety and Consumer Statutes Administration Act. As part of its mandate, ESA is responsible for administering regulation in four key areas: the Ontario Electrical Safety Code; licensing of Electrical Contractors and Master Electricians; electrical distribution safety; and electrical product safety.

SOURCE Electrical Safety Authority

February storms, floods caused more than $57 million in insured damage

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) reports that a significant winter storm and flood event, which affected parts of Southern Ontario and Quebec, resulted in more than $57 million in insured damage, according to Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ).

From February 19-22, 2018, a slow-moving high pressure system brought high temperatures and heavy rains to parts of Southern Ontario, including BrantfordChathamKentLondonCambridge, and parts of the Greater Toronto Area. Heavy rains also affected Quebec’s Eastern Townships and parts of Quebec City. The rainfall and high temperatures caused flooding in several parts of the region. Over $43 million in insured damage was reported in Ontario and over $14 millionin Quebec.

“Climate change is causing severe weather events more frequently throughout the year, especially storms involving floods,” said Kim Donaldson, Vice-President, Ontario, IBC. “Since flooding can cause significant damage in a very short time, it is important for consumers to know what their policies cover and whether they have overland flood protection. Consumers should check with their insurance representatives to see what options are available to them.”

For more information on how to protect property against floods and other disasters please visit IBC’s website.

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 $9 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $52 billion.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC’s Media Centre at www.ibc.ca. Follow IBC on Twitter @InsuranceBureau 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

A Fort McMurray lawyer is calling on insurance companies to extend their deadlines to settle wildfire insurance claims.

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Former ICBC executive Nick Geer, killed in Calif. crash, remembered as family man

Excerpted article was written by Jeff Bell / Times Colonist

Nick Geer, a former Insurance Corp. of B.C. chief executive, is being remembered as a dedicated family man after his death in a motor-vehicle accident.

Geer, 75, was killed Monday in the crash near Sacramento, California. His wife of 49 years, Penny, was hospitalized at the Enloe Medical Centre in Chico. She has since been moved to the intensive-care unit at Vancouver General Hospital.

The couple had been on their way to Loreto Bay, which family members said was their favourite place.

Friends and supporters have sent numerous messages of love and support via Facebook and CaringBridge.org. “We will continue to pray for your mother’s full recovery,” said one note. “And we will always cherish the many good times we had with your dad.”

The family has been “truly moved” by the caring response, daughter Sam said in a note on CaringBridge.org.

Sam and her siblings, Jilly and Noel, issued a statement about their father. They said that he believed “the easiest way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.”

“This was his philosophy,” they said. “He approached a problem not as a problem but as an opportunity.”

The children said he strove to create a legacy “through his work in the community and love for his country, family and friends.”

His community involvement earned him a Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2003.

The family will carry special memories, the children said.

“Dad will always be remembered as a kind grandpa, a loving father, a caring partner and a true friend to so many,” they said. “The world won’t be the same without him.

“Your memory will always guide us and be our north star, and we love you forever, dad.”

Geer was born in London, England, and made his way to Vancouver in 1967. He worked at a number of accounting firms around Vancouver, then served as vice-chairman of the Pattison Group from 1980 to 1999 before working at ICBC from 2001 to 2004.

He was chairman and a co-founder of Collingwood School, an independent grade school in West Vancouver, and more recently was chairman of the board for NAV Canada, which owns and runs the country’s civil air navigation system.

On the occasion of Collingwood’s 2011 annual general meeting, headmaster Rodger Wright noted it was the last one for “the legendary Nick Geer, who has stood carefully and continuously by the school since before we were a school.”

Among Geer’s efforts at ICBC was cost-cutting, which he outlined in 2003 to a group of B.C. Liberal backbenchers.

He told them he arrived at the corporation to find “a fleet of vehicles that would choke a horse.”

He said there were more than 900 company vehicles at one point, a number that was pared down to 87. Both pool vehicles and executive cars were affected.

The number of employees also dropped, and 270,000 square feet of corporation space was eliminated. For management, individual performance plans meant “if the company does well and the individual does well, their pay will go up,” Geer said.

When the Probus Club of North Shore Vancouver welcomed Geer as a guest speaker, it noted that he had changed ICBC’s bottom line from a $250-million loss in 2001 to a $389-million profit by 2004.

Alaska quake shows complexity of tsunami warnings

By John Antczak

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

LOS ANGELES _ The powerful earthquake that struck beneath the Gulf of Alaska early Tuesday generated a tsunami, but before gauges could show that it was very small, warnings went out to a vast swath of the state and British Columbia, while a lower-level alert targeted the rest of the West Coast.

The magnitude-7.9 earthquake set in motion complex analysis that eventually downgraded and called off all alerts in less than four hours, but the protocol for the initial warnings only considered magnitude and location, said David Hale, a lead decision maker at the National Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska.

“We don’t have the luxury of time to be able to gather the data necessary to determine whether there is or is not a wave,” Hale said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

In deep water, a tsunami can travel at speeds in excess of 500 mph (805 kph), meaning residents of nearby coasts need to move immediately toward high ground or tall buildings.

The quake struck at 12:32 a.m. and was centred about 175 miles (280 kilometres) southeast of the city of Kodiak. It was given a preliminary magnitude of 8.0, upgraded briefly to 8.2 and then lowered to 7.9.

In the meantime, protocol tied to the initial magnitude and its location relatively near the coast required a  ‘local” tsunami warning, encompassing the vast span from Attu Island in the westernmost Aleutian Islands to the border between British Columbia and Washington state.

The rest of the U.S. West Coast south to the California-Mexico border was put on a watch, indicating  “something has occurred in the area that could have impacts at some point” and the need to pay attention to announcements, Hale said.

An earthquake generates a tsunami by forcing ocean water upward as one side of a fault rupture goes up and the other side goes down. But how the quake happens makes a difference. An undersea quake on a so-called thrust fault lifts a great deal of land and therefore more water. Another kind of fault, called a strike-slip, moves horizontally to the sea floor and pushes up less water.

After the initial alerts went out, the National Tsunami Warning Center turned to using models and looking at tide gauges in the area, Hale said.

Within 20 or 30 minutes, it was almost certain the quake occurred on a strike-slip fault that moves less water. After about 40 minutes, gauges showed that a tsunami had been generated, and officials compared data about the extent of the wave with the models.

Three tsunami-detection buoys in the area also detected the wave and showed it was small.

“At that point, we began whittling down the areas that are actually placed in alerts,” Hale said.

At 3:12 a.m., the centre issued its fifth message, confirming a tsunami, cancelling warnings and watches but leaving south Alaska and the Alaska peninsula under a low-level advisory to expect some effects.

The centrecancelled that advisory an hour later and reported the maximum tsunami height was 0.7 of a foot (0.21 of a meter) at Old Harbor, Alaska.

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

By Bob Weber

THE CANADIAN PRESS

If it seems as if the weather’s getting weirder, you’re not wrong.

An index of extreme weather in Canada compiled by the insurance industry backs that up.

“Yes, we see definite trends that can’t be explained by normal variability,” said Caterina Lindman of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.

The institute compiles what it calls the Actuaries Climate Index, a joint effort by insurance organizations across North America. It recently released its latest quarterly update up to spring 2017.

The index begins with a 30-year average taken from 1961 to 1990 of everyday weather conditions such as temperature, precipitation, wind speed and sea level. Thresholds are set for each of those based on the top 10 per cent of readings.

For an average month, for example, about three days would be in that 10 per cent.

Using data provided by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration one of the top American government science organizations the index then counts how many days actually exceed that threshold. The index plots the results for every three-month period since 2016.

The method reveals a slow, gradual increase in extreme weather.

The overall Canadian index indicates that during the entire three decades between 1961 and 1990, extreme weather fell outside the range of normal variability only five times. In the last 10 years, however, that happened 12 times.

Temperatures have been climbing.

Across Canada, hot days have exceeded the normal number every quarter since the winter of 2015. The number of cold days hasn’t exceeded normal for nine years.

It’s getting wetter, too. Across Canada, the average number of days with heavy rain or snow has been outside the norm since spring 2013. In Ontario and Quebec, it’s been since winter 2008.

It’s harder to draw conclusions about wind for Canada as a whole. Likewise for sea level unless you live in the Maritimes, where sea level has been higher than the normal range for the last 12 years.

The findings correspond with data from Environment Canada, which suggests average summer temperatures have climbed one degree since 1970 and precipitation has increased about five per cent.

Actuaries use the information in their calculation of risk as they insure lives and property, said Lindman. But they also do it to contribute to public debate.

“There’s a lot of political angst around the issue of global warming and we’re trying to be neutral sources,” she said. “We’re just adding our voice.

“We’re in it for the long haul, so we are concerned for the sustainability of our planet.”

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