Some floodwater receding in Manitoba but flows increasing on Assiniboine

WINNIPEG _ Floodwater is receding across parts of southern Manitoba but officials warn water is on the rise along the Assiniboine River.

In its flood bulletin, the province says it has lifted a flood warning for some rivers since flows are decreasing.

But officials say a flood watch remains west of Winnipeg, between Portage la Prairie and Headingley, as the water continues to rise into the weekend.

The province says a significant amount of water is coming in from Saskatchewan and ice jams are a concern on a few rivers where the ice is still intact.

Officials say the Red River has already crested in Winnipeg and water is decreasing in some tributaries.

Forecasters have said soil moisture is very high following a wet fall, and river and lake levels are above normal in some areas.

Officials are urging any homeowners affected by this spring’s flooding to review their home insurance. They say overland flood insurance was introduced by some insurers in Manitoba last year.

Desjardins introduces new flood coverage for Canadians

Thanks to new flood coverage—Endorsement 16d in insurance jargon—customers of Desjardins (Desjardins Insurance, The Personal and State Farm Canada) who live in low-risk areas will automatically be covered, at no charge, for damage caused by an overflowing waterway or dam break, for instance. And, with an additional premium, clients living in medium-risk areas can also take advantage of the new coverage.

95% of Desjardins policyholders can benefit from flood coverage:

  • 80% insure properties in low-risk areas
  • 15% insure properties in medium-risk areas

Desjardins is committed to developing products and services that offer peace of mind and meet the current and future needs of their clients. “We listened to our customers and designed this coverage with them in mind. We want to help people avoid unpleasant surprises because dealing with water damage is already difficult enough,” says Denis Dubois, President and Chief Operating Officer of Desjardins General Insurance Group.

“Our flood coverage has fewer exclusions than the protections offered by the majority of our competitors. It’s free for most clients and remains optional for policyholders who would have to pay for it. This gives clients the flexibility to adapt their coverage to suit their needs and their reality,” adds Dubois.

Did you know?
Home insurance policies cover accidental water damage, such as a burst water pipe, leaking dishwasher or overflowing bathtub. This basic coverage can be enhanced with other optional coverage, including:

  • Ground water and sewer back-up (Endorsement 16c) – Because of climate change, heavy rain events are becoming increasingly frequent, causing sewers to back up or water to pool around houses and seep in through the foundations. At Desjardins, 85% of clients have this endorsement on their home insurance policies.
  • Above ground water (Endorsement 42) – 90% of Desjardins clients have this endorsement, which covers damage caused by water seeping in through the roof, for instance.

The flood endorsement (16d) launched today completes the range of optional coverage already offered by Desjardins.

Higher-risk areas
A minority of Canadians live in areas with a higher risk of flooding. As it stands, they still don’t have access to appropriate insurance coverage.

“We’re continuing to work with the industry and the federal government to help make it easier for all Canadians living in high-risk areas to get insurance and minimize the number of homes without adequate coverage,” says Dubois.

About Desjardins General Insurance Group
A subsidiary of Desjardins Group, Desjardins General Insurance Group (DGIG) is Canada’s third largest provider of property and casualty insurance. The company distributes insurance under the Desjardins Insurance, The Personal, and State Farm Canada brands. DGIG is also a leader in Canada in white label distribution.


SOURCE Desjardins Groupe d’assurances générales

Heavy rain, swelling rivers threaten Vancouver Island First Nation

PORT ALBERNI, B.C. _ A First Nation near Port Alberni, B.C., expects to evacuate some homes as heavy rains cause rivers to flood.

Tseshaht Nation emergency preparedness co-ordinator Hugh Braker said the community has been sand bagging riverside properties and roads, but with up to 120 millimetres of rain expected by Wednesday, the risk for flooding remains high.

Out buildings including garages and carports were damaged by flooding on the weekend, but no homes have been affected yet, Braker said.

Six families who were forced to leave their homes on the weekend as a precaution were able to return, but a new round of evacuations is anticipated to begin Monday evening.

Braker said the reserve’s major thoroughfare, Highway 4, is also expected to be washed out by rising water levels, posing challenges for emergency crews as they try to reach people.

“Our reserve is serviced by the fire department of the City of Port Alberni. If we have a fire above the flooded highway, it’s going to take a very long time for the trucks to respond.”

Although a school on the reserve is not within the flood plane, Braker said classes might be cancelled to prevent students from having to travel on flooded roads.

He said flood levels from the Somass River are expected to peak Tuesday, and could be comparable to historic flooding that devastated the community in 2014.

The reserve has faced flood risks every year since then.

“It’s very unusual for us,” he said about flooding three years in a row. “Certainly it’s something the … Tseshaht First Nation council will have to look at after this emergency is over.”

The Tseshaht Nation declared a state of emergency on Friday and has been working with the province and Environment Canada to monitor the flood and take precautions.

“We’ve been able to do a lot of preventative planning and placement of resources in anticipation of the flood.”


‘Try [to] keep that loss at a bare minimum.’– Kent Rowe, Insurance Broker’s Association

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Muskoka residents launch $900 million suit against province over flood damage

By Keith Leslie


TORONTO _ Residents, cottage and business owners on some of the biggest lakes in Muskoka are launching a $900-million class-action suit against the Ontario government because of flooding caused by high water levels.

People living on Lakes Muskoka, Lake Joseph and Lake Rosseau say they suffered extensive damage during this year’s spring thaw because of high water and drifting ice that wreaked havoc on docks, boat houses and their properties.

The Ministry of Natural Resources is responsible for controlling water levels in the lakes, and the residents blame poor management and negligence for allowing the levels to become dangerous.

The ministry issued a statement Thursday saying it was “sympathetic” to those who had property damage, but adding that severe weather conditions are out of its control and that the spring melt was earlier and faster than normal this year.

“Over 170 mm of precipitation fell over a very short period of time, combining with high winds and ice flows to cause severe spring flooding,” it said. “We have lowered water levels in ministry dams when appropriate. Lowering water levels may provide limited relief from flooding, (ministry) dams were not designed to be flood control structures and don’t have the capacity to store or hold back flood waters.”

Lawyer Troy Lehman said the extent of the damage is “enormous” but the actual cost of repairs is still unknown, and most residents have not been successful in making insurance claims.

“We picked that number because we don’t know the actual amount,” he said. “Conservative estimates would say property damage could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and that’s why that large number was picked, but we will gather that information as people come forward.”

Peter Burgess, the representative plaintiff in the proposed class-action suit, which has not been certified by the courts, said it’s frustrating to suffer widespread property damage and not be able to afford to fix it.

“It’s a terrible feeling to have something crushed by the elements,” he said.

The Burgess family waterfront property on Lake Rosseau was flooded twice in the past few years, and its two-storey boathouse collapsed this spring and could cost up to $700,000 to rebuild.

“Insurance companies don’t insure wharfs or docks due to flooding or ice damage, but they do insure due to wind damage, so I had to build the argument that it was due to all three elements,” said Burgess. “So I still have no money from (the insurance company). They’re throwing some scraps on the table.”

Cassandra Ford, who operates a marina and restaurant in Bala, said she is looking at up to $400,000 to rebuild a damaged boathouse.

“Nobody seems to care,” she said. “They don’t care.”

Ford wants the ministry to explain why there was no flooding for 60 years and then three major floods since 2010.

“Prior to the 2006 Muskoka Watershed Management Plan we had high water but we didn’t have constant flooding,” she said.

In addition to monetary damages, the suit also aims to secure a judge’s order that would force the ministry to address the issue and maintain safe water levels.


SGI offers tips for customers dealing with flooding

News Release:


With heavy rainfall leading to flash flooding in some areas of the province including Estevan, and more rain in the forecast, SGI is reminding customers what to do in the event of water damage to their home or vehicle.

“We’re here to help customers through this difficult situation,” said Don Thompson, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, SGI CANADA. “First and foremost, take care of yourself and your family and make sure everyone is safe. When you’re able to do so, call SGI to report your claim.”

To report a property or auto claim, call your local SGI claims centre. In Estevan, call toll free 1-800-667-9773 Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. or 1-800-647-6448 after hours. You can also report an auto or property claim online using MySGI.

With expected higher-than-normal claim volumes, SGI will be assigning additional adjusters to Estevan, or other areas as required, to help process claims as quickly as possible.

If it’s safe to do so, SGI CANADA suggests that homeowners dealing with property damage:

  • Clean up as soon as possible. Seek professional advice on how to clean up and take whatever reasonable steps you can to minimize further damage to your property.
  • Don’t throw anything out. Store damaged items in a reasonably safe place so the adjuster can see them when they arrive. If you are disposing of items, take photos and keep a detailed list of what is being thrown away.
  • Have any appliances (including furnaces) that have come in contact with water checked by a qualified electrician, plumber, dealer or serviceperson before you use them.
  • Do not touch any electrical systems or panels until you know it is safe to do so, especially in wet or damp conditions.
  • Move damaged belongings to a dry area with good ventilation.
  • Keep track of your cleaning time and expenses as they may be covered through the insurance claim.
  • Take photographs or video of damaged property to give to your adjuster.

SGI’s Estevan facility has also been impacted by flooding, with cleaning crews in place to deal with impacts. In the meantime, customers in Estevan should note:

  • Licence issuing and vehicle registration needs – SGI is unable to complete these types of transactions at its Estevan facility. Customers can visit one of the other motor licence issuers in Estevan or complete some transactions online using SGI’s MySGI service.
  • Claim appointments – If you had a previously-scheduled appointment, please call ahead to confirm as your appointment may need to be rescheduled.
  • Driver exam appointments – Written driver exams are cancelled. Driver road tests will continue – driver examiners will meet customers outside the building.

For more information about sewer back up and flooding, see the frequently asked questions on SGI CANADA’s website at

About SGI

Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) is the province’s self-sustaining auto insurance fund. SGI operates 21 claims centres and five salvage centres across Saskatchewan with a head office in Regina. SGI also works with a network of nearly 400 motor licence issuers across the province. Customers can now do some transactions online. Look for the MySGI link underOnline Services on your motor licence issuer’s website or SGI’s website.

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