The Evanses first sought flood insurance in 2008

Rachel Cave · CBC News

A retired couple in Grand Bay-Westfield is hoping a new home insurance product they purchased ahead of this year’s flood will make their recovery easier.

Jim and Betty Evans started asking about flood insurance after the St. John River crept up to their doorsill in 2008.

It wasn’t available then.

The Evanses picked through the flood damage Monday to see what can be salvaged. (Brian Chisholm/CBC)

But a few years ago, some companies started offering overland water coverage, available to homeowners who qualified and at an additional price.

“Because we’d been through this before, we thought we’d better have it,” said Betty, 78.

The Evanses have been racking up expenses since floodwater closed Riverside Park, the street where they’ve lived for 25 years.

Jim and Betty Evans, who have lived in their Grand Bay-Westfield riverside home for 25 years, say this year’s flood was the highest they’ve seen by far. (Brian Chisholm/CBC)

On Monday, they had no power, no running water and were staying at a hotel.

They’re hoping their bills will be reimbursed, but they say they’re not entirely sure what their policy covers.

“We’re a little foggy on how extensive it is,” said Jim.

No industry standard

The Insurance Bureau of Canada said only 10 to 20 per cent of insurance companies provide any form of flooding insurance.

They can set their own prices and their own terms, said Marlene Landry, IBC’s Atlantic manager of consumer and industry relations.

“What each company will sell, how they’ll sell it and what the product contains is all different,” said Landry.

“There is no industry standard.”

The Evans’s water pump will be need to be replaced. It’s among many fixtures and appliance lost to the flood.(Brian Chisholm/CBC)

Landry said insurance companies keep years of information on claims and they know their risk zones.

That’s why the location of your house will affect what you pay and whether you can purchase flooding protection at all.

“Yes, there’s going to be cases, many cases possibly, where you couldn’t purchase overland flooding because of where you live,” she said.

Betty Evans clears water-damaged items from her home in Grand Bay-Westfield. (Brian Chisholm/CBC)

IBC said insurance companies have not yet reported on how many New Brunswickers have opted into the coverage since it was introduced in 2015.

As for how much claims will cost from the flood of 2018, Landry said that information may not be available for some time.

“As far as when the information will be available to us as to how much this cost as an industry, I’m going to hazard to say maybe a year or more.”

 

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