Canadian Underwriter

Intact Centre, Insurance Bureau react to latest Liberal election promise

August 19, 2021   by Greg Meckbach

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Wednesday’s Liberal election promise answers a call from Canada’s property and casualty insurance industry for a national standard for scoring properties on their resilience to weather-related disasters.

In a speech in British Columbia Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised a new auditing program so homeowners can assess their readiness to withstand extreme weather, CTV News reported.

A federal election is scheduled Sept. 20.

If re-elected, the federal Liberals are promising to “build on the success of the EnerGuide home rating system for energy efficiency by developing a companion approach for scoring the climate resilience of our homes,” the Insurance Bureau of Canada said Aug. 18 in a release.

EnerGuide is an existing program run by Natural Resources Canada. What it entails is, an energy advisor, who is registered with Natural Resources Canada, collects data on a home. That data includes but is not limited to the level of the home’s airtightness and the insulation levels of the walls, ceilings and basement.

Canada needs something similar in concept to EnerGuide but which also rates climate resiliency, IBC federal affairs vice president Craig Stewart told Canadian Underwriter Monday. Stewart made that comment in the context of an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report released Aug. 9.

IBC and the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation have been talking for some time about putting something in place similar in concept to EnerGuide to rate a property’s resilience to weather disasters, said Blair Feltmate, head of the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation, in an interview Thursday with Canadian Underwriter.

“Effectively what we would have is one-stop shopping. A person could give a homeowner an evaluation of their home from the perspective of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions to be more energy-efficient, while protecting it from the threat of basement flooding,”

The Intact Centre is not part of IBC but is part of the University of Waterloo’s environmental faculty. Funded by Canada’s largest P&C insurer, the Intact Centre focuses on helping society deal with consequences of climate change.

“The logic of it is taking the EnerGuide program and expanding it to incorporate into an assessment of vulnerability of homes, including outside of property and basement, pertaining to flood,” Feltmate said Thursday of the latest Liberal election promise.

“When someone is on site, who already has technical expertise to begin with, doing an energy efficiency profile on the house, that same individual could do at least a visual inspection of the outside of the property and the basement itself to identify, for the homeowner, vulnerabilities pertaining to basement flood risk,” said Feltmate.

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