January 31, 2008 by
The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has called for the formation of an ongoing working group between the insurance industry and the government of British Columbia to ensure residents of B. C. are protected as best as possible against an earthquake.
Two strong earthquakes on Jan. 5 shook the area just south of the Queen Charlotte Islands, serving as a stark reminder that much of the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island are seismically sensitive areas, IBC said in a release.
“The property and casualty insurance industry and the government need to work more closely together to review best practices in other earthquake-prone zones around the world on an ongoing basis to make sure that British Columbians benefit from the latest knowledge about managing earthquake hazards,” IBC president and CEO Mark Yakabuski said in the release.
“Methods to protect citizens from major earthquakes have improved substantially around the world in recent years and we need to make sure that B. C.’s policies reflect the best that is out there,” he added.
How to best disseminate information to the public should be the focus of part of the effort, Lindsay Olson, IBC vice president of British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.
Olson added the IBC is already committed to public education on earthquake risk and will be accelerating these efforts in the coming months.
“It is estimated that a major earthquake in Vancouver would result in damages of more than $30 billion,” she noted. “Of that amount, about $6 billion would be insured damages. The exposure faced by B. C. residents is huge and the insurance industry wants to work with the government to manage this danger in the best possible way.” •