Prepare Now: Special weather statement issued for parts of British Columbia

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is encouraging British Columbians living in the south coastal area to prepare for strong winds and heavy rains due to arrive Wednesday night. Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for much of the region and rainfalls upwards of 200mm are forecasted.

“Storms such as this can have a huge impact on families and communities,” said Bill Adams, Vice-President, Western and Pacific, IBC. “That’s why we want to help make sure that British Columbians are prepared for when bad weather strikes. If you have any questions, contact your insurance representative or call IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1‑844‑2ask-IBC. We’re here to help.”

Help protect your home from storm damage:

  • Store valuable items in upper floors of your home, away from the basement.
  • On lower levels raise large appliances, furnaces, hot water heaters and electrical panels up on wood or cement blocks
  • If flooding is imminent, shut off electricity to areas of the home that may be affected. Use sand bags or install flood shields or built-up barriers for basement windows and doors.
  • Create an emergency preparedness plan with your family.
  • Assemble an emergency supply kit.
  • Prepare a detailed home inventory.
  • Pay attention to local authorities and monitor weather developments regularly.

When severe weather occurs, it is important for consumers to understand their insurance policies and to know what is covered. If damage occurs, IBC is here to help policyholders if they have any insurance –related questions.

Starting the claims process:

  • When safe to do so, assess and document damage.
  • Call your insurance representative and/or company to report damage or losses.
  • Be as detailed as possible when providing information.
  • If you need help getting in touch with your insurer, contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ASK-IBC (1-844-227-5422).

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.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC’s Media Centre at 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

“We didn’t think it would come this high. It’s never come this high before. We’ve lived here for 25 years,” she said.

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“There’s no question that it’s going to have major impacts,” he says. “Is it going to be devastating or just major-damaging?”

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Winter road and weather conditions change quickly – So should your driving

Road and weather conditions change quickly during winter. Drivers should be prepared to adjust their driving behaviour to match the conditions and address potential hazards.

On average, each year in British Columbia, the number of casualty crashes due to driving too fast for conditions doubles in December compared to October – approximately 236 crashes in December compared to approximately 117 in October (ICBC Annual Average Casualty Crashes due to Driving too Fast for Conditions 2011-2015 police reported data).

This trend extends to those who drive for work. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of traumatic workplace death, and more crashes causing worker injury or death occur between October and February. (WorkSafeBC, 2016).

Be part of the solution:

  • Slow down to a safe speed. Posted speed limits are for ideal conditions.
  • Install 4 matched winter tires that display the 3-peak mountain snowflake symbol. Winter tires, or all-weather tires, offer the best traction for faster stopping time and shorter stopping distance in cold weather, snow, rain and on ice. In all conditions winter tires must have a minimum tread depth of 3.5 mm.
  • For employers and supervisors, the Winter Driving Safety online course and Tool Kit on the Shift Into Winter website provides useful information for planning, implementing and monitoring a winter driving safety program.

Even the most confident and seasoned drivers are at risk when winter road and weather conditions change. Whether you drive for work or leisure now is the time to prepare.

Between October 1 and March 31, most B.C. highways require passenger vehicles to have 3-peak mountain snowflake tires and commercial vehicles to carry chains.

For more information about what you can do to be a safer driver this winter, visit


Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour, Shirley Bond

“Whether you drive to and from work, or spend much of your job on the road, every driver needs to be prepared for changeable and often challenging winter driving conditions. Being aware of the weather and planning for winter road conditions can mean the difference between a tragedy and getting home safely to your family at the end of the day.”

Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Todd Stone

“Winter poses unique travel and road maintenance challenges in B.C. One of our goals is to help keep drivers informed, prepared and travelling safely in winter conditions. We encourage drivers to be mindful of changing weather conditions, and regulate their speed accordingly, especially on high mountain passes and interior highways where conditions can change from rain to snow very quickly. ”

Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Mike Morris

“Unpredictable winter driving conditions means everyone has to be extra careful when they’re on the roads. Snow squalls and icy conditions can challenge any driver. Do your part, don’t drink and drive, don’t drive distracted – it will cost you. In 2015 alone, driver inattention contributed to at least 88 deaths in B.C. Make the safe, smart decision so all British Columbians get to their destination safely.”

RCMP “E” Division Traffic Services Officer in Charge, Supt Derek Cooke

“Everyone on our roads and highways are trying to get to their destinations safely. British Columbia has unique terrain, and weather and road conditions that can change quickly. If we all plan ahead, give ourselves extra time to reach our destination, and have the proper equipment on our vehicles we can prevent unnecessary collisions, and ensure that everyone arrives alive.”

ICBC President and CEO, Mark Blucher

“During fall and winter, drivers need to adjust their driving for the road conditions they encounter, allow extra travel time and ensure their vehicle is properly equipped for every trip. For the safety of everyone on our roads, slow down, increase your following distance to at least four seconds and use extra caution – especially when approaching intersections. Anything drivers can do to avoid crashes will help reduce claims costs and the pressure on insurance rates.”

WorkSafeBC Vice President, Prevention Services, Al Johnson

“Every morning hundreds of BC workers get out of bed and get into vehicles to drive our roads…delivery vans, transports, buses and tow trucks. Driving is their job. We know that workers are more at risk of injury when they drive for work during the winter months because driving conditions are more extreme. Organizations can prepare now for that heightened risk by putting together a winter driving safety program and communicating it effectively to their staff with the online resources from Shift into Winter. Being prepared can save lives.”

About the Winter Driving Safety Alliance

The Winter Driving Safety Alliance is a joint provincial initiative comprised of organizations committed to improving the safety of drivers during the winter months. They are the Ambulance Paramedics of BC CUPE 873, B.C. Road Builders and Heavy Construction Association, Justice Institute of British Columbia, Mainroad Group, B.C. Forest Safety Council, B.C. Trucking Association, Finning, Insurance Corporation of B.C., Kal Tire, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, Pacific Coach Lines, RCMP, WorkSafeBC, the Automotive Retailers Association, the Trucking Safety Council of B.C., the City of Prince George, and the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada.

SOURCE Road Safety At Work

Hurricane Matthew: Does trip cancellation insurance cover natural disasters?

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Hurricane Matthew is threatening several of the Caribbean’s most popular destinations for island getaways, jeopardizing trip plans for Canadians hoping to take advantage of shoulder season.

The eye of the Category 4 hurricane is expected to pass east of Jamaica and then over or close to the southwestern tip of Haiti late Monday or early Tuesday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said.

Matthew is predicted to hit the lightly populated eastern tip of Cuba on Tuesday afternoon. However, areas under a hurricane watch include the Turks and Caicos and central Bahamas.

Although tourism is significantly lower in the Caribbean at this time of year, Hurricane Matthew may have a direct impact on Canadians who have trips booked to affected areas in the coming days.

Here’s what you need to know if you’ve booked a trip to one of the affected regions:

If you purchased trip cancellation insurance and a travel advisory is issued by the Canadian government, your trip will be covered

According to Will McAleer, president of the Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada, any traveller who purchased trip cancellation or trip interruption insurance while booking their vacation will be able to claim the cost of their trip so long as the government of Canada has issued a non-essential travel warning to the reason.

“Assuming that advisory is up when you are supposed to go, that trip would be covered,” McAleer said.

The travel advisory must still be valid on the day you are scheduled to leave.
Non-essential travel advisories have been issued for Jamaica, Turks and Caicos, as well as central and southeastern Bahamas due to Hurricane Matthew.

However, if you are scheduled to leave for a trip in the coming days and you have yet to purchase insurance, it won’t do you any good to buy it now; according to McAleer, you would need to buy your trip cancellation insurance before any weather issues were reported for it to be covered.

Global News contacted several trip insurance providers for comment regarding hurricane coverage.

TD Insurance, PC Insurance and Manulife Insurance confirmed trip cancellation insurance will apply if a formal travel advisory has been issued by the government of Canada. Both providers urged customers travelling to the Caribbean to contact their provider immediately to verify their coverage.

Check with your tour operator

Having been through a hurricane while on vacation many years ago herself, travel expert Claire Newell suggests travelers check with their tour operator – such as Air Canada Vacations, or West Jet Vacations – as many of them offer hurricane coverage.

“None of this will come into play until something hits land. Basically, they are watching this minute by minute. When it actually hits land and the damage is seen – whether it hit near the resort, or if it affected the airport – they will make their decision,” Newell said, noting that whether you would get a refund or switch your travel dates is up to the individual provider.

“Whether it’s an ‘act of God’ is up to the tour operator to determine.”

Still planning on travelling? Take these steps to protect yourself

If you still plan on travelling to a region that could be affected by extreme weather, it’s recommended that you register your trip with the government of Canada.

The Registration of Canadians Abroad service allows the government to know who has travelled to areas affected by things like natural disasters, civil unrest, or terrorism. You will be asked to provide personal details – including your passport number – where you will be staying in the country you are visiting and an emergency contact person in Canada.
It’s also recommended that you carry the phone number and information for Canada’s Emergency Response Centre and carry contact information for Canadian government offices where you plan to visit.

Newell recommends that those travelling with a tour operator carry the contact information for their operator, should the situation where they are staying become serious.

It’s also important to note that some insurance companies may not honour medical claims for injuries suffered in a country for which the government has issues a travel advisory. Check with your provider to verify any terms and limitations in your policy before you travel.

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