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IBC president and CEO, Don Forgeron, calls for collaborative national flood program


February 25, 2016   by Canadian Underwriter


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Don Forgeron, president and CEO of the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), has called for a collaborative national flood program. IBC is proposing a framework for the financial management of flood risk, with shared responsibilities for the insurance industry, all tiers of government and consumers.

IBC is proposing a framework for the financial management of flood risk, with shared responsibilities for the insurance industry, all tiers of government and consumers

Speaking at an Economic Club of Canada event in Halifax on Thursday, Forgeron also outlined the significant costs of climate change to Canadian taxpayers, governments and businesses.

“Extreme weather events driven by climate change have increased in frequency and severity, as seen right here in Atlantic Canada,” Forgeron said. “Storms and flooding in recent years have turned extreme and at times, tragic. Canada is not prepared for the increase in damage caused by climate change. As the only G7 country without a national flood program, Canadians, our government and the insurance industry have been left dangerously exposed to severe weather risks.”

The annual economic costs of disasters around the globe have increased five-fold since the 1980s, increasing from $25 billion a year in the ’80s, to $130 billion a year in the 2000s, the IBC noted in a press release. Canada has not been immune to these escalating costs, the IBC said, with federal disaster relief spending rising from an average of $40 million a year in the 1970s to $100 million a year in the 1990s, and reaching over $600 million a year this decade. In 2013, it reached a record $1.4 billion, largely as a result of two flooding disasters, in Alberta and Ontario.

Don Forgeron, president and CEO of the Insurance Bureau of Canada“By taking action now, we can help minimize costs to taxpayers and better equip homeowners for the increased weather risks,” Forgeron (pictured right) went on to say. “We look forward to collaborating with federal and provincial governments to develop a coordinated, private-public response to this growing national problem.”

The IBC president and CEO said that building a country resilient to flooding requires a multi-pronged approach. Aging infrastructure needs to be upgraded to enable it to withstand the increased precipitation and “it is also vital to inform Canadians of the physical and financial consequences of flood.”

“A thoughtful, sustainable approach that puts Canadians at the centre of the solution cannot wait,” concluded Forgeron. “We need to build a new framework to guide our response to floods, building on the best practices in flood insurance in other G7 countries.”