On Side Restoration Announces New Hamilton Branch Opening April 15, 2018

HAMILTON, ON, April 2, 2018 – On Side Restoration Services Ltd. is pleased to announce their continued Ontario expansion with a new Hamilton Branch led by Brandon Boyd, Branch Manager. The Hamilton Branch will service the Greater Hamilton Region, Brantford, Burlington and St. Catharine’s/Niagara.

Brandon Boyd

“I’ve been searching for my next career challenge within the emergency property sector and On Side fit the bill on multiple levels: a strong national player, healthy corporate culture and growth focused. Having handled large complex losses in my prior roles, the next natural step for me is to manage a new branch from the ground up. Our solid team is growing weekly and we look forward to accepting claims in our branch starting April 15th” stated Brandon Boyd, On Side Hamilton Branch Manager.

Jay Kielt, Regional Manager Ontario and Atlantic shared “We’re excited to bring Brandon onboard to our On Side team. His depth of experience leading and orchestrating admin and service teams, as well as his technical background, are all great additions to our already strong team here in Ontario.” Mr. Kielt continued, “We’ve been ramping up our coverage across Ontario with our 6 branches, and this will continue through to 2019. Keep your eye out for more announcements as we continue to expand.”

Brandon Boyd started out as a water and environmental technician and naturally evolved into project management roles, adding more complexity as he built his career. He holds numerous certificates including: Type 3 Asbestos Remediation Technician, Level 3 Applied Microbial Remediation Technician, Water Restoration Technician as well as Health and Safety Technician.

On Side’s Hamilton is located at Unit 9, 680 Tradewind Drive, Ancaster, ON and offers 7,000 square feet to handle all emergency property restoration challenges within the Greater Hamilton Area.


Flooding Risks – Where The Canadian Insurance Market Is At

Article by Nicole Truong

Extreme weather events, such as the heavy rainfall and flooding we’ve witnessed this spring in Quebec and in British Columbia, inevitably lead to discussions about the impact of climate change and the cost of inaction.

The recent flooding in various riverside regions of Canada that has left citizens feeling helpless as they try to salvage their home and belongings from murky waters of overflowing rivers across the country, is a reminder that governments and the insurance industry could do more to prepare for the future.

In Canada, flooding is among the most onerous risks for the federal government. Since the 1970s, it has paid nearly $6.5 billions to flood victims, i.e. about 78% of the expenses incurred under the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements (DFAA). What’s more, in 2010-2014, it spent $3.7 billions in aid to flood victims.

As natural catastrophes recur more frequently, we expect these numbers to rise steadily in years to come.

New endorsement

While these are staggering figures, insurers in Canada have only just recently begun offering homeowners insurance protection against the risk of flood, already available in other G8 countries. In fact, the Insurance Bureau of Canada announced last winter that it had drafted a new endorsement against overland flooding which will be in force this coming June 1st, 2017, and therefore available to Quebec homeowners through participating insurers.

This is not to say that insurers in Canada have ignored the risk of flood. It is covered under automobile insurance and commercial property insurance policies. However, it begs a question as to why it took so long for insurers to offer a product for the Canadian homeowners’ insurance market.

Part of the reason is that the risk itself defies the economic parameters of insurance; i.e. it is not entirely unforeseeable and uncertain. In fact, floods tend to happen periodically, and the resulting damages are serious and costly. Foreseeability of the occurrence of floods leads to adverse selection of the risk and creates an imbalance on the market where a greater proportion of persons who are highly exposed to the risk buy the insurance protection as opposed to those who are less exposed. As a result, the insurance principle of risk sharing among insureds no longer applies. Eventually, offering the insurance protection is no longer financially sound and is unattractive because it is too expensive.

Role of the federal, provincial and municipal governements

But because of the scarceness of flood insurance, the Canadian federal government ends up paying the bill through the DFAA, which is funded indirectly by taxpayers. The provinces also provide financial assistance which only covers the affected populations’ basic needs. In the long run, as we witness floods more frequently, the situation will no longer be socially and economically viable. This is why it is high time for governments and the insurance industry to react and stem the tide before the situation deteriorates further.

The Canadian federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments each have a role to play in assisting the insurance industry to control the risk of floods. The federal government is currently conducting floodplain mapping  to identify the boundaries of a potential flood event and to support informed decisions and investments to reduce the impacts of flooding in communities across Canada.

To be successful, it requires the cooperation of the provincial and municipal governments as they have the expert knowledge of the specificities of the regional and local areas. While municipal governments are responsible for tracking flood risk and implementing risk mitigation measures, the provinces supervise and work with them to set priorities. Provincial governments also regulate the insurance industry in this particular aspect. It is why all government levels must address the issue together.

Expectations for the future

Finally, the emerging market of home insurance covering the risk of flood in Canada will eventually ensure adequate and efficient reconstruction of infrastructures after major flooding. It will also make sharing information between various government levels and the insurance industry easier, which is in the interests of all parties involved, especially the victims. If the uptake of this new insurance product turns out to be positive, we can realistically expect quicker re-building and a degree of relief for the federal and provincial governments as there will be less reliance on the DFAA and public funds.

Nonetheless, we have a long way to go. Past governments have underestimated the needs to invest in infrastructures and in expert intelligence in order to assess properly the risk of flood. By putting their best foot forward in adopting a coherent and integral approach in tackling climate change and natural catastrophes, governments in Canada and the insurance industry will have to learn to respond efficiently to environmental and natural threats upstream as well as downstream.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Source: Mondaq

New FireSmart Home Development Guide helps Canadians build wildfire resiliency

FireSmart Canada, in partnership with The Co-operators, has developed a new resource to help residents make their homes more resilient to wildfire. The FireSmart Home Development Guide is now available to all Canadians, and will become part of the FireSmart Home Partners Program.

The FireSmart Home Development Guide outlines specific measures homeowners can take to reduce the risk of damage from wildfire.  Available to help homebuilders and property owners make informed decisions, the Guide provides recommendations on elements that significantly reduces the wildfire risk a home faces: roofing material and design; siding and vents; gutters and eaves; decks; fencing; and landscaping.

“Canadians have seen the devastating personal, social and economic impact of wildfires, the most tragic of which occurred in Fort McMurray last year,” said Rob Wesseling, president and CEO of The Co-operators. “Fortunately, we know that proactive mitigation efforts by individual property owners can significantly reduce wildfire risk. By making the FireSmart Home Development Guide available, we are hoping to inspire homeowners to take action to protect what matters most – their loved ones and property.”

The Guide will also now be part of the FireSmart Home Partners Program, which is being piloted in four communities: Fort Nelson First Nation, B.C., Northern Rockies Regional Municipality, B.C., Slave Lake, Alta. and Whitecourt, Alta. The Program addresses the need for a standardized system that offers detailed, customized and measureable wildfire risk assessments and measurable risk reductions for individual properties. In the future, it will also include in-person workshops for insurers, realtors and homebuilders.

“Any place where conditions allow for ignition and spread of fire between structures and vegetation – the wildland-urban interface – people are more exposed to the risk of wildfire, and that needs to be considered and managed by all stakeholders, including property owners,” said Kelly Johnston, executive director of FireSmart Canada. “Preparing for the threat of wildfire is a shared responsibility that will only grow in importance as climate change and other factors continue to increase the risk. The FireSmart Home Partners Program provides homeowners with the tools and information to reduce the risk of wildfire to their homes.”

The Co-operators also partners with FireSmart Canada and other organizations on Wildfire Community Preparedness Day (WCPD), which will be held this year on May 6, 2017.

The FireSmart Home Development Guide is available at firesmartcanada.ca.

About FireSmart Canada
FireSmart Canada is the go-to national program committed to helping Canadians reduce their wildfire risk and become fire adapted through community-based solutions.  FireSmart is administered by Partners in Protection; a non-profit coalition of federal, provincial, indigenous communities, private industry and municipal fire, emergency and land management experts. Through publications, programs, outreach training, and workshops, FireSmart Canada provides tools for Canadians to become pro-active in reducing the risk of wildfire to their homes and communities. FireSmart programs and products are supported through membership and ongoing active support from organizations such as the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction, the National Fire Protection Association and The Co-operators. For more information on FireSmart visit www.firesmartcanada.ca.

About The Co-operators:
The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian co-operative with more than $44 billion in assets under administration. Through its group of companies it offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products. The Co-operators is well known for its community involvement and its commitment to sustainability. The Co-operators is listed among the 50 Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt; Corporate Knights’ Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada; and the Top 50 Socially Responsible Corporations in Canada by Sustainalytics and Maclean’s magazine. For more information visit www.cooperators.ca.

SOURCE The Co-operators

Fort McMurray: Insurers hire SPECS to direct cleanup process

By Cullen Bird, Today staff

Fort McMurray contractors were told Wednesday to look to post-loss consulting firm SPECS Ltd. for work during the cleanup process.

During a meeting at the Sawridge Inn the RMWB’s chief administrative officer Kevin Scoble told contractors the great majority of insurance companies had selected SPECS to oversee and direct the cleanup process on their behalf.

“Our involvement is to really encourage them to hire local contractors,” said RMWB director of Supply Management Ted Zlotnik after the meeting.

He added that the municipality has provided SPECS Ltd. with a list of local contractors.

“I think it’s important that the business community understands that the municipality’s top priority is to drive business into the community,” Zlotnik said.

“We can only influence them,” he said. “Ultimately they’re a private company.”

SPECS will not control all of the work involved in the cleanup effort, said Bill Adams, regional vice-president of the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

Individual homeowners have the right to direct the process as they see fit. Of the insurance companies involved in Fort McMurray, Adams said, 94 per cent have signed on with SPECS.

SPECS was engaged by homeowners’ insurance companies to coordinate cleanup in Slave Lake, Adams said, after a fire destroyed more than 400 buildings there in 2011.

Early in the Slave Lake recovery, individual insurance companies hired individual contractors to do cleanup work.

“All of a sudden you had 12 ‘dozers and 12 dump trucks trying to go through the same street,” he said. “It was a nightmare.”

The town of Slave Lake asked the IBC to create a solution. IBC hired SPECS to control and oversee the cleanup on behalf of the insurance companies.

That way SPECS could proceed systematically with cleanup. Homeowners would be billed for cleanup work by SPECS. Those homeowners would then pass on their bills to their insurance companies.

SPECS Ltd. president Dave Wallace attended the meeting, and afterwards spoke to a crowd of local contractors at length.

He did not take any media questions after the meeting, but said he was being “very transparent” with local contractors.

Some of the contractors present at the meeting had hoped there would be an announcement about new business opportunities.

“We came to this meeting thinking that it could potentially be an opportunity for more work, but it didn’t turn out that way,” said Keith Plowman, owner of K. Plowman Contracting Ltd. and the vice-president of the Fort McMurray Construction Association.

“Depending on what happens with the municipalities’ capital budget, it’s sounding like if they’re going to be doing clean-up until September, that it’s going to be slow until at least September, with one contractor doing most of the work.”

Wood Buffalo council decided Tuesday night to defer the capital budget review until next week. Administration recommended a capital budget review be done to determine which projects should resume work and which should be suspended in the current post-fire situation.

Plowman stressed that it was important to resume work on municipal capital project so contractors could begin working again.

“The only money that’s flowing right now in Fort Mac is restoration and cleaning. The rest of the contractors are sitting around and waiting.”

– with files from Kyle Darbyson

Source: Fort McMurray Today

FirstOnSite Restoration mobilizing large loss crews to Fort McMurray

Source: firstonsite Restoration Press Release

FirstOnSite Restoration, Canada’s leading independent disaster restoration services provider, is mobilizing large loss crews to Fort McMurray today to restore critical infrastructure ahead of the projected return of residents following this month’s catastrophic wildfire.

This mobilization of up to 1,500 personnel will join a smaller crew that has been on site with first responders for several weeks assessing and remediating air quality issues as fire fighters have fought back wildfires in the area. Crews are drawing from both local resources and workers where available, and are supplemented by additional personnel from across the country.

In addition to the trailers and wi-fi cellular hub running now, FirstOnSite will set a larger scale mobile command centre from which it will coordinate restoration efforts – a command and control model that proved highly effective following the devastating fires in Slave Lake. The response will be supported by dozens of trucks and trailers, as well as hundreds of pieces of specialized restoration equipment and logistical support mobilized earlier and waiting in Edmonton.

U.S.-based Interstate Restoration, which has recently joined forces with FirstOnSite through a pending sale, is also readying to send hundreds of pieces of specialized temperature control equipment, generators, and more than 100,000 square feet of temporary housing and office space for the mobile command centre.

For more information on FirstOnSite’s mobilization to Fort McMurray, visit: www.firstonsite.ca or call 1.877.778. 6731, and follow @firstonsite on Twitter at www.twitter.com/firstonsite .

ServiceMaster Restore and “Hoarders” TV Personality Partner to Train Industry Professionals

Source: ServiceMaster press release

ServiceMasterHoardersServiceMaster Restore, the leader in residential and commercial services, expands their service offering to include hoarding and extreme cleanup. ServiceMaster Restore has partnered with hoarding cleanup expert and television personality Matt Paxton to create a specialized training program to teach its global network on how to understand and properly work with people who hoard.

Stephan Roy, National Director of ServiceMaster Restore has been working with Matt and their US team to bring the program to Canada. The company is hosting industry training seminars to stakeholders who are exposed to people that live with the difficult conditions of hoarding. Roy comments, “The training is timely as awareness of hoarding increases due to popular TV shows and the disease recently being added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual used by psychiatrists to diagnosis mental illness.”

“Hoarding is more common than you might think,” says Matt Paxton, one of the stars of A&E’s “Hoarders” series. “Dealing with hoarding cleanup requires specialized training, and I’ve teamed up with ServiceMaster Restore to assess hoarding situations, develop action plans and help clients comfortably return to healthy living environments.”

While extreme clutter is a symptom of hoarding, dealing with hoarding cleanup requires expert help from both cleaning and mental health professionals. Clutter created by hoarding can result in serious threats to the well-being and safety of the person suffering from this disorder, as well as those close to them.

“Together with ServiceMaster Restore, we’ll be able to help more of those in need and have a real impact on the lives of those suffering from this mental health disorder,” said Paxton.

For more than 60 years, ServiceMaster Restore has provided professional cleaning and disaster restoration services. Paxton, one of the top hoarding cleanup experts in the United States, is also the founder of Clutter Cleaner, author of The Secret Lives of Hoarders and featured expert on the television show “Hoarders.” As the in-house expert for ServiceMaster Restore, he’ll be providing specialized hands-on training to participating franchisees across the country. The company will also host a seminar for local therapists, organizers, care managers, senior move managers, and other professionals who work or care for hoarders and their families.

Cleaning the home of a hoarder is a difficult task that requires effective planning, detailed execution and the right equipment. Not only does a hoarding situation require experts who can navigate the issues, but also people who treat each client with compassion and respect.

Roy explains that the company has a comprehensive approach to how each of its local franchisees handle restoration and extreme cleanup jobs. “Most people who hoard have experienced a traumatic event in their life, causing them to hold onto things. There are different levels of complexity and they come from all walks of life.  You may know someone that needs special assistance and we are here to help.”  ServiceMaster Restore’s approach ensures the focus is on the individual person who needs help – understanding the emotional impact and providing support to help them cope. “We’re not just removing clutter and debris; we’re helping families regain their lives.”

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