SGI offers tips for customers dealing with flooding

News Release:

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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 www.sgicanada.ca.

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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Seine up to Highest Level in 35 Years, Paris Landmarks Shut

The swollen Seine River kept rising June 3, 2016, spilling into Paris streets and forcing one landmark after another to shut down as it surged to its highest levels in nearly 35 years. Across the city, museums, parks and cemeteries were being closed as the city braced for possible evacuations.

The Seine was expected to peak in Paris sometime later Friday at about 5 metres (16 feet, 3 inches) above normal. Authorities shut the Louvre museum, the national library, the Orsay museum and the Grand Palais, Paris’ striking glass-and-steel topped exhibition centre.

paris-flood-cars_0“We evaluate the situation for all the (cultural) buildings nearly hour-by-hour,” said Culture Minister Audrey Azouley, speaking to journalists outside the world-famous Louvre. “We don’t know yet the evolution of the level of the Seine River in Paris.”

At the Louvre, home to Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa,” curators were scrambling to move some 250,000 artworks from basement storage areas at risk of flooding to safer areas upstairs.

Nearly a week of heavy rain has led to serious flooding across a swathe of Europe, leaving 15 people dead and others missing.

Although the rain has tapered off in some areas, floodwaters are still climbing. Traffic in the French capital was snarled as flooding choked roads and several Paris railway stations shut down.

Basements and apartments in the capital’s well-to-do 16th district began to flood Friday afternoon as the river crept higher, and authorities were preparing possible evacuations in a park and islands on Paris’ western edge.

In addition to the Louvre, the Orsay museum, home to a renowned collection of impressionist art on the left bank of the Seine, was also closed Friday to prepare for possible flooding. The Grand Palais, which draws 2.5 million visitors a year, was also shut down.

The closures are highly unusual.

The Louvre said the museum had not taken such precautions in its modern history _ since its 1993 renovation at the very least. Disappointed tourists were being turned away.

“I am really sorry, but we’re closed today,” one staffer told visitors.  “We have to evacuate masterpieces from the basement.”

Elsewhere in Europe, authorities were counting the cost of the floods as they waded through muddy streets and waterlogged homes.

German authorities said the body of a 65-year-old man was found overnight in the town of Simbach am Inn, bringing the country’s death toll over recent days to 10. France’s Interior Ministry also reported the death of a 74-year-old man who fell from his horse and drowned in a river in the Seine-et-Marne region east of Paris, the second death in France.

In eastern Romania, two people died and 200 people were evacuated from their homes as floods swept the area, including one man who was ripped from his bicycle by a torrent of water in the eastern village of Ruginesti.

In Belgium, rescue workers found the body of a beekeeper who was swept away by rising waters while trying to protect his hives in the village of Harsin.

The German Insurance Association estimates this week’s flooding has caused some 450 million euros ($500 million) in damage in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg alone.

The foul weather has added to the major travel disruptions France is already experiencing, after weeks of strikes and other industrial actions by workers upset over the government’s proposed labour reforms. French rail company SNCF said the strikes had led to the cancellation of some 40 per cent of the country’s high-speed trains.

In addition, French energy company Enedis says that more than 20,000 customers are without power to the east and south of Paris because of flooding.

Outside the Louvre, tourists expressed understanding at the museum’s closure.

“It’s good that they are evacuating the paintings. It’s a shame that we couldn’t see them today, but it’s right that they do these things,” said Carlos Santiago, visiting from Mexico.

Paris is measuring river levels using an unusual method called the Austerlitz scale. It involves comparing the surface level with an underwater sensor slightly below the surface at the Austerlitz Bridge, said regional environment director Jerome Goellner.

In normal times, the river level is between 1 metre and 2 metres (3 feet, 3 inches to 6 1/2 feet) on the Austerlitz scale, he said, a system used out of historical habit so one flood could be compared to another. But a piece of trash trapped in the sensor led authorities to undercount the rise of the Seine earlier this week, he said.

The Seine has so far risen about 4.5 metres (15 feet) from its typical position following days of heavy rains. Goellner says it’s not possible to put a precise time on the peak but “we’re near the maximum.”

With leading Paris museums closed, the surging currents are becoming a tourist attraction in themselves.

Prakash Amritraj of India, a 42-year-old visiting Paris with his wife and two children, took selfies on the Mirabeau Bridge in western Paris.

“I had never thought of possible floods in Paris city centre. In India, we have the monsoon, but here! It’s not supposed to happen!” he said.

While he sympathized with all those affected, he was able to appreciate the flooding from a different perspective.

“It’s kind of beautiful, in a way,” he said.

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Water and Electricity Are a Lethal Mix!

Water and Electricity Are a Lethal Mix!

MISSISSAUGA, ON, With the significant flooding expected or already occurring in some areas including the Grey-Bruce and Parry Sound – Muskoka regions, the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) is reminding Ontarians that there is a heightened risk of electric shock when water makes contact with electrical systems that could result in serious injury or death.

If you have to evacuate your property in advance of a flood, switch the main breaker in your electrical panel to the “OFF” position to ensure the power is off upon your return home to potentially flood damaged electrical equipment.

If flooding has occurred, follow these electrical safety steps; it could save your life, or the lives of first responders and utility personnel working in the area:

If you experience flooding on your property:

  • Do not assume that the area affected by the flood is safe.
  • Stay out of your basement or property if you know or suspect water has risen above the level of electrical outlets, baseboard heaters, furnace or was near your electrical panel. Electricity can move through water or wet flooring and cause a severe electrical shock.
  • In the event that flood water has risen above outlets, baseboard heaters or your furnace, covered power cords, or near the electrical panel, contact your local electric utility immediately and arrange for them to disconnect power to your home.

If flood water contacts the electrical system inside your home, cottage or other buildings on your property, it may be damaged and you need to follow these safety steps:

  1. If the flood water has risen above outlets, baseboard heaters or your furnace, covered power cords, or above or near the electrical panel you should have your electrical system assessed and repaired by a Licensed Electrical Contractor (LEC).
  2. Do not plug in or attempt to use electrical appliances contacted by flood waters until they have been checked or serviced by a Licensed Electrical Contractor or appliance service provider. Call a Licensed Electrical Contractor, or contact the manufacturer or dealer for the nearest service location.

Assessing the safety of your electrical system after a flood
ESA strongly recommends you hire a Licensed Electrical Contractor to evaluate your home’s electrical system to determine if it is safe. You can find a Licensed Electrical Contractor at www.esasafe.com in the Customer section under Hire a Contractor.

  • The contractor will file for an electrical permit with the ESA so there is a record of the work;
  • When the contractor completes the work, the contractor will notify ESA and the ESA Inspector will confirm work has been done safely and power can be reconnected;
  • ESA will inform the utility that it is safe to reconnect; the utility will reconnect when it is able to do so.
  • After the work is done, ask the contractor for a copy of the ESA Certificate of Inspection for your records and insurance.

ESA reminds all homeowners and businesses, including restoration companies, to ensure that power has been disconnected to the entire property before entering to avoid shock and electrocution. This includes flooded basements and outbuildings that contain electrical equipment or are connected to the electrical system.

For more information or to find a Licensed Electrical Contractor in your area visit www.esasafe.com and use the Contractor Look Uptool directly from the homepage.

About the Electrical Safety Authority
The Electrical Safety Authority’s (ESA’s) role is to enhance public electrical safety in Ontario. As an administrative authority acting on behalf of the Government of Ontario, ESA is responsible for administering specific regulations related to the Ontario Electrical Safety Code, the licensing of Electrical Contractors and Master Electricians, electricity distribution system safety, and electrical product safety. ESA works extensively with stakeholders throughout the province on education, training and promotion to foster electrical safety across the province. More information on the Electrical Safety Authority can be found at www.esasafe.com, throughhttps://twitter.com/homeandsafety and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ElectricalSafetyAuthority.

SOURCE Electrical Safety Authority

IBC Applauds the Government of Canada’s Commitment to Fighting Climate Change

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) congratulates the Liberal Government on its first budget and applauds its commitment to addressing climate change.

“The budget shows a clear and strong commitment to fighting climate change. IBC is committed to working with this government to strengthen communities facing increasingly severe weather events stemming from climate change,” said Don Forgeron, President and CEO, IBC.

As the recent report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer highlighted, the financial costs to the Federal Government due to natural disasters, which are linked to climate change, are far greater than previously estimated. That is why IBC continues to call for a collaborative national flood program that will provide a framework for the financial management of flood risk, with shared responsibilities between the insurance industry, all tiers of government and consumers.

Budget 2016 shows a commitment to building climate resilient communities in Canada. This is highlighted by the investment in helping grow Canada’s clean economy while helping communities prepare for severe weather events.  One particular example is funding of a Province of Manitoba project to regulate lake levels and provide flood protection to individuals, businesses and communities around Lake Manitoba and Lake St. Martin.

Building a country that is resilient to flooding requires a multi-pronged approach. Aging infrastructure needs to be upgraded to enable it to withstand the increased precipitation. It is also vital to inform Canadians of the physical and financial consequences of floods.

“Now is the time for action. Climate change is a real and present danger costing governments – and Canadians – hundreds of millions of dollars every year. Because Canada is the only G7 country without a national flood program, Canadians, our government and the insurance industry are dangerously exposed to severe weather risks. We look forward to further working with this government to help minimize the costs to taxpayers and better equip Canadians for the effects of climate change,” added Forgeron.

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.

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

IBC calls for national flood program

There are calls for a national flood program today from the president and CEO of the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

Don Forgeron, says extreme weather events driven by climate change have increased in frequency and severity, and that Canada is not prepared for the increase in damage.

He points out Canada is the only G7 country without a national flood program.

IBC says federal disaster relief spending has risen from an average of $40 million a year in the 70s to $600 million a year in this decade.

Of course 2013 was a record breaking at $1.4 billion as a result of two flooding disasters, including the one in southern Alberta.

IBC is proposing a framework for the financial management of flood risk, with shared responsibilities for the insurance industry, all tiers of government and consumers.

Source: www.cknw.com

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.

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