Canadian Underwriter

Hurricane Juan toll hits $113 million

May 4, 2004   by Canadian Underwriter

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The insured losses arising from Hurricane Juan’s assault on Nova Scotia last fall have risen to $113 million, signaling the need for better disaster prevention, says the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).
In November, the IBC had pegged insured losses from the hurricane at a minimum $85 million, including property damage in Nova Scotia and PEI, as well as marine losses. Those figures have now risen 40%, and the tally illustrates the need for a national disaster prevention and mitigation strategy, says IBC Atlantic region vice president Don Forgeron.
“These numbers, on top of the winter storms that shut down much of the Maritimes, illustrate the need for preventive measures aimed at minimizing the impact of natural disasters,” says Forgeron. “The experience with communities that choose to undertake a disaster mitigation strategy is that such measures save lives, minimize disruption and cut down on insurance costs.”
He says not having a national strategy on disaster prevention is akin to not having seatbelts in cars. “We know the investment would pay off, yet many decision-makers are willing to take a wait and see approach, then pick up the pieces when disaster hits.”
The IBC says losses from natural disaster are doubling every five to ten years, representing a 14-fold increase in the past 40 years. However, spending on infrastructure development is declining.
The IBC plans to honor communities who lead the effort for disaster mitigation through its “Foundation for the Future” awards. But, Forgeron adds, individual community efforts can only go so far and a national strategy is in order.

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