Canadian Underwriter

B.C. Forest Fires Cost Insurers $200 Million

October 1, 2003   by Canadian Underwriter

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Insured losses from forest fires that swept through British Columbia in August are expected to total at least $200 million, says the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC). But this figure should not increase significantly, says IBC Pacific Region government relations manager Dennis Prouse.

Prouse says the rebuilding process is proceeding well, with work underway on more than 300 homes destroyed in Kelowna and north of Kamloops. “One of the greatest parts of this disaster has been the quick response that has been taking place.” Brokers and adjusters were responding to evacuation centers from the beginning, to advise claimants affected by the blazes. “We’re [the insurance industry] pulling out all the stops to make sure that these people get assistance right away because it’s vital,” he adds. Damage from the literally hundreds of fires which spread across B.C. through the summer have been labeled the worst fire loss ever, largely because of its impact on urban centers, destroying homes and forcing thousands of people to be evacuated.