Canadian Underwriter

Understanding of quake protective measures, insurance coverage faulty in Quebec: survey

October 19, 2017   by Canadian Underwriter

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The lion’s share of polled Quebecers remain unprepared for an earthquake, with a mere 8% of respondents understanding the immediate protective measures that should be taken in the event of a quake, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) reports.

The concerning finding – one that has proved persistent in Quebec – is among those included in a survey of 1,000-plus Canadians, conducted by SOM and commissioned by IBC, that was released in advance of Thursday’s 5th edition of the Great ShakeOut.

Related: Preparation, not panic, is the way to address earthquake risk: IBC’s Don Forgeron

The survey indicates less than one in 10 poll respondents “knew the three steps to protect themselves during a quake, namely Drop, Cover (get under a solid piece of furniture), Hold On,” notes an IBC statement issued Thursday.

These simple steps “are acknowledged by experts to be the most effective way to avoid injuries and save lives,” notes IBC, a sponsor of the Great ShakeOut in Canada since its inception.

The international earthquake preparedness drill will be held in locations around the world Thursday at 10:19 am (EST).

The lack of understanding about how to protect oneself is matched by a misperception around potential risk and damage. Asked whether or not they think their homes could suffer damage from a quake, just one in seven (14%) of respondent replied yes.

“A large proportion of the population is simply not aware that the whole St. Lawrence Valley is at risk of an earthquake, and that there have been a number of strong quakes in Quebec over the course of its history,” the IBC statement explains.

Faulty understanding is further exacerbated by beliefs around coverage. More than a third of respondents mistakenly believe their home insurance policy covers earthquake risk, and just 3% of individuals with home insurance in Quebec have quake coverage (an endorsement can be added to the policy).

“What the survey reveals, overall, is that Quebecers are not ready to deal with a major earthquake,” says Pierre Babinsky, IBC’s director of communications and public affairs.

Related: More action needed to better prepare for earthquake in Canada: Scotti

In a bid to bolster earthquake awareness in the province, IBC is inviting Quebecers to register free of charge at and to take part in the drill at work, at school or at home. IBC has also released a French-language promotional video.

“This short simulation could make all the difference the day we are hit by a major quake,” Babinsky suggests. “Those who practice the three steps, even if only once a year, will immediately know what to do during a quake.”

Related: Great British Columbia ShakeOut attracts record number of registrants

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