Canadian Underwriter

Most British Columbia residents unprepared for earthquake: Survey

October 15, 2012   by Canadian Underwriter

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More than two-thirds of British Columbia respondents to a survey reported they do not have an emergency plan, while the Insurance Bureau of Canada is the presenting sponsor of an earthquake drill, dubbed ShakeOutBC, scheduled Thursday in the province.

In a press release, IBC noted that 60% of respondents to an online survey, conducted by Angus Reid Public Opinion, acknowledged they do not have an emergency kit with supplies and 70% have not prepared an emergency plan. Lindsay Olson, IBC’s vice-president for B.C., Saskatchewan and Manitoba, said the survey, of 800 in B.C., has a margin of error of +/- 3.5%, 19 times out of 20.

The Great ShakeOut, which commissioned the Angus Reid survey, is a program involving earthquake drills and education. The drill this year in B.C. is scheduled at 10:18 a.m. Oct. 18.

“We thought it was extremely important to raise awareness of the risk of an earthquake,” Olson said in an interview. “It’s not a matter of if but when, and it’s really really important for people to know what to do and how to minimize injury and loss when we eventually have that earthquake.”

Olson added IBC does not currently have projections for casualty and insurance claims in the event of an earthquake on the west coast.

“Currently IBC has commissioned a study of economic and insured loss potential in British Columbia from a major earthquake in order to find out what those numbers might look like,” she said, adding that although Munich Re conducted a study about 20 years ago, “many things have changed in 20 years.”

Earlier this year, Square One Insurance reported that about half of B.C. homeowners have earthquake insurance, despite the fact that B.C. residents can get lower rates than homeowners in California.

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