Canadian Underwriter

Intact’s plan to help you advise your client on disaster resilience

October 2, 2020   by Greg Meckbach

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By the end of this year, Intact Financial Corp. is hoping that a research centre it funds will have trained more than 140,000 brokers, home inspectors, realtors, and other professionals on how to make properties resilient to extreme weather, CEO Charles Brindamour suggests.

The Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation, which is part of the University of Waterloo, offers a number of programs including the Home Flood Risk Assessment Training.

“By the end of the year, we are hoping to have trained 140,000 professionals across the country to be better-equipped to help their customers be resilient,” Brinadmour said during the recent CIBC Sustainability Conference.

The Intact Centre focusses on helping society deal with consequences of climate change, Brindamour said during the presentation Sept. 18, which was webcast.

In launching its home flood risk assessment training, the Intact Centre was aiming to help home inspectors give their customers advice on basement flood risk reduction, Intact Centre head Blair Feltmate said in 2018 at the Technology Conference.

That course, which is currently offered online, is also aimed at insurance brokers and realtors. Its academic partners include Sir Sandford Fleming College and Fleming College. Some students work at all three levels of government, while others are technicians, engineers, policy analysts and contractors, Daniel Filippi, the Intact Centre’s program manager of resilience and adaptation, told Canadian Underwriter earlier.

The Intact Centre also gives practical advice to help homeowners and municipalities adapt and mitigate impact of natural disasters, Brindamour said Sept 18 at the CIBC Sustainability Conference. The research centre also helps shape construction standards, Brindamour added.

The Intact Centre says homeowners can do several things, without spending any money, to reduce basement flood risk. Among them are cleaning out eavestroughs, checking for leaks in plumbing and appliances, removing debris from the nearest storm drain, ditch or culvert, and checking the sump pump.

Other measures homeowners can take – which would cost them money – include extending downspouts and sump discharge pipes at least two metres from foundations, and hiring a contractor to correct grading so that water drains to a point at least two metres away from the foundation, the Intact Centre recommends.

In the mid-2000s, Intact decided it had a serious issue with claims costs from natural disasters, Brindamour said at the sustainability conference.

“The first thing we did is we bulked up our expertise with climate experts. We now have, on the payroll, climate scientists who have really helped us move from looking in the past from a data point of view, to looking in the future. Because the past is sort of irrelevant when it comes to predicting the future.”

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