May 25, 2015 by Canadian Underwriter
Co-operators General Insurance Company announced on Monday that it has launched new insurance coverage for overland flooding in Alberta.
The coverage, which is available throughout the province, is an “inclusive and flexible solution” designed to protect homes against the most common causes of water damage – flooding caused by an overflow from a body of water, sewer/water backup and accumulation of surface water caused by heavy rain, The Co-operators said in a press release.
The coverage is available as an endorsement to Co-operators General Insurance Company homeowners’ insurance policies in Alberta, the release said. It is available for purchase as of Monday, and will be added to existing policies that currently have coverage for sewer/water backup, upon renewal.
Planning is currently underway to make the product available across the country, the Co-operators reported. [click image below to enlarge]
“As a co-operative, we seek to address unmet needs, and there is clearly a need to provide Canadian homeowners with better protection against flooding,” said Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of The Co-operators, in the release. “Our coverage is available to homeowners throughout the province – not just those who have a low risk of flooding or sewer backup.”
Flooding is the most common type of natural disaster in Canada and the flood in southern Alberta in 2013 was the most costly storm in Canadian history. “In general,” overland flooding is not currently covered on home insurance policies, the Insurance Bureau of Canada said recently on its website.
In February, Aviva Canada announced that it would offer Ontario and Alberta homeowners an overland water endorsement in May, insuring losses arising from the accumulation or run off of surface waters. “The endorsement forms a key part of the Aviva Water Protection package, which combines base policy water protection (broken water pipes and more), sewer back-up protection (the backing up or escape of water or sewage) and overland water protection (from water entering the property),” Aviva said at the time.
Donna Ince, RSA Canada’s senior vice president for personal lines, told Canadian Underwriter in March that RSA is “looking at flood coverage” after Aviva Canada’s announcement in February. “We are assessing what this means. We have to look at the insurance cost and definitely look at our data around flood mapping and we recognize that we will potentially be looking at how those coverages work today. There’s more to come on that in the coming months,” she said at the time. [click image below to enlarge]
The Co-operators new endorsement, called Comprehensive Water, “provides coverage against the various types of water damage in one easy-to-understand product, the release said. “Clients can choose the amount of coverage they wish, based on their individual needs, and flexible deductibles are available as a percentage of the claim amount. In addition, if a client’s home is completely destroyed in a flood, they can choose whether or not they want to rebuild at the current location, a new location, or not rebuild at all.”
The Co-operators also released a new online tool that provides a personalized risk assessment and information about preventing water damage to homes. Visitors to the site can enter their postal code and receive the personalized risk assessment based on factors including how many levels of the house are below ground, what is in the basement (finished walls and floors, furniture and/or electronics, stored items), and if the driveway slopes towards the home. The tool offers tips to keep water from accumulating outside the home, recommendations to prevent sewer/water backup damage and general tips to remember.