“As they rebuild those homes, they’re rebuilding them largely the same way they were, with the same materials that burned,” said Bill Adams, a vice president with the Insurance Bureau of Canada.
Adams told a Conference Board of Canada meeting on lessons learned from last year’s wildfire, part of the problem is the economic downturn doesn’t leave homeowners in a position to afford upgrading to fire-safe materials.
“Bill Adams, with the Insurance Bureau of Canada, says insurance doesn’t cover the extra cost of changing to fire resistant materials.”
“There’s not a lot of people who have a lot of extra money that they can invest now while they’re rebuilding to make those improvements,” he said Tuesday in Edmonton.
“Insurance, which is paying the bulk of the costs for rebuilding the community, only provides enough money to put you back in your preexisting condition.”
Adams suggested introducing fire-resilient upgrades might mean foregoing or holding off on other features that existed in the home previously, such as granite countertops or finishing the basement.
He said it’s up to the insurance industry, government and communities to educate homeowners aware of their options.
Last year’s wildfire destroyed more than 2,400 homes and structures and forced nearly 90,000 people to evacuate the area.