Canadian Underwriter

Fort McMurray #468 First Nation selected by SPECS to carry out wildfire debris removal

July 18, 2016   by Canadian Underwriter

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The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has announced that Fort McMurray #468 First Nation has been selected by Specialized Property Evaluation Control Services Ltd. (SPECS) to carry out the coordinated demolition and debris removal initiative following the Fort McMurray wildfire.

Home Renovations - Tear Out“This is an important component of the recovery and rebuilding process, and insurers look forward to working with residents, the selected general contractor, Fort McMurray First Nation and other contractors, which homeowners may choose in facilitating the timely and cost effective removal of debris,” said Bill Adams, vice president, Western and Pacific, IBC, in a press release on Friday. “As the trade association representing insurers, IBC also looks forward to continuing to work with the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) and local stakeholders throughout the recovery and rebuilding process.”

According to an information sheet from IBC, affected residents have two choices for debris removal: the removal is handled by the insurer’s project management company or the homeowner chooses their own debris removal contactor. The total cost of removal comes out of the insured’s policy limits regardless of the option chosen and the IBC recommends that policyholders speak with their adjuster or insurance representative to understand their costs and responsibilities.

In the first option, for a single family home or duplex, costs are calculated as followed:

  • Debris removal – $9,636-$11,561 (based on between 1,125 households and 800 households in the program);
  • Cutting and capping – $2,224;
  • Management fee – $429; and
  • Environmental testing and monitoring – $200.

Costs for debris removal for a mobile home are between $4,871 and $6,796. The other costs (cutting and capping, management fee, and environmental testing and monitoring) are the same as for a single family home or duplex.

If the homeowner decides to hire their own contractor to remove debris, the IBC recommends that they understand what is included in the quote. The RMWB requires that the chosen contractor has a certificate of recognition, small employer certificate of recognition or “a similar industry certification demonstrating their health and safety management system meets provincial standards,” the IBC release information said. The homeowner should also ensure that the contract includes specific services and fees (see Option 2 above), including removal of hazardous materials not accepted by RMWB landfill (aerosols, paints, compressed gases, etc.), hauling fees, dust control measures and environmental testing, among others.

As local residents continue to work with their insurers through the claims process, it is likely that they will continue to have questions. Residents are encouraged to contact their insurance representative or call IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.

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