Chestermere flood victims concerned over insurance shortfall

CBC News | Calgary

Residents of Chestermere say they could be out thousands of dollars because provincial insurance will not cover the cost of repairs from sewer backups as a result of heavy floods last summer.

During a visit to the city on Thursday, Municipal Affairs Minister Danielle Larivee said the province’s $9-million Disaster Recovery Program (DRP) is designed to cover uninsurable losses.

“If there’s a combination of overland flooding and sewer backup, we would cover 50 per cent of that loss. But if it was strictly because of sewer backup, we would expect that insurance should cover that.”

‘Very stressful’

But local resident Brenda Weisenburger said some homeowners are facing bills of $80,000, while insurance only covers a small portion of that.

“There’s limits on insurance coverage for people… $15,000 or $30,000.  But when you’ve lost everything, and they’re cutting out your walls and your basement, you know you’ve lost a lot more than that,” Weisenburger said.

“It’s very stressful and it makes it very difficult for families … especially right now when many people have lost their jobs as well,” she added.

Last month, the province announced that it was making $9 million available to help residents of Chestermere and Langdon whose homes were damaged in last July’s rainstorm.

Around 150 ml of rain fell in two hours, leaving nearly 300 homeowners with damage to their property.

Larivee said homeowners who apply would receive one-on-one support to ensure their claims are processed.

“The expectation is that residents would submit the information from their insurance company addressing what was covered and what wasn’t, and then we will utilize that information in processing the claim to decide how much money will come out of that,” she added.

The province is holding workshops in Rocky View County on Jan. 14 and Chestermere on Jan. 15-16 to help residents file their applications.

Homeowners have until March 16 to apply for compensation.

Storm flooding spurs creation of overland water insurance

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IBC applauds Government of Alberta’s commitment to reduce flood risk

EDMONTON, Oct. 26, 2015 /CNW/ – Today, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) welcomed the Government of Alberta’s announcement that it will invest hundreds of millions of dollars to deal with the risk of flooding in southern Alberta.

“This investment shows the government’s commitment to building resilient communities,” said Bill Adams, Vice-President, Western and Pacific, IBC. “Across Canada, extreme weather damage has cost insurers almost $8 billion since 2010 and governments across the country many tens of billions of dollars more.  We need to take thoughtful and appropriate action to develop strategies that help Canadians protect themselves from the effects of extreme weather. Investment today will pay off in the long term. I applaud the government for taking these steps.”

The government announced new flood protection along the Bow and Elbow Rivers with the aim to defend Calgary and upstream communities against the type of severe flooding that occurred in June 2013. This funding commitment will support a number of flood mitigation projects, including:

  • Building the Springbank Off-stream Reservoir
  • Investing additional funds in the Alberta Community Resilience Program to support City of Calgary mitigation projects
  • Funding local mitigation in Bragg Creek and Redwood Meadows.

With climate change resulting in more frequent and severe weather events, IBC has made helping Canadians adapt to this new reality a strategic priority for the insurance industry. Adams added, “These investments will make our province stronger and able to handle weather events that have become more frequent and severe.”

Insurers are working to educate Albertans about steps they can take to protect their properties. For more information, consumers can contact their local insurance representative, or call IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC or visit ibc.ca.

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 118,000 Canadians, pays $6.7 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $48 billion.

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

Red Cross still helping Alberta victims nearly 2 years after massive flood

CALGARY – The Canadian Red Cross says it’s still busy helping those affected by the flood in southern Alberta nearly two years ago.

It released a progress report Wednesday on the work done so far across the region.

Provincial director Jenn McManus said there’s no one challenge that sticks out in her mind as most prevalent with their clients.

She says the Red Cross has spent $36.2 million of the $43.3 million raised, helping approximately 7,700 families.

McManus says there are some families that still need affordable, safe shelter, and there are many who still have high levels of emotional stress.

Flooding in June 2013 in Calgary and southern Alberta caused more than $5 billion in damage and has been called Canada’s costliest disaster.

Four people died, nearly 75,000 were evacuated in Calgary and the entire town of High River was also forced out of their homes.

“There’s emotional supports, we’re still making referrals for clinical emotional supports to families and individuals, we’re being asked to assist with mortgage and financial realities that are unfolding still, we’re helping individuals and families navigate DRP and their insurance scenarios,” McManus said.

She also said there’s no one region where these problems exist, rather they span from downtown Calgary and High River to First Nations and Bow Valley communities.

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