Canadian Underwriter

Educating yourself about flood coverage while cooped up at home

April 1, 2020   by Greg Meckbach

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Looking for a free course that will give you continuing education credits without having to leave your house?

The Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation recently launched a 1.5-hour online home flood risk course for brokers anywhere in Canada.

“It helps them become [an information] hub for their clients,” said Daniel Filippi, program manager of resilience and adaptation at the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation, part of the University of Waterloo’s environment faculty.

The new Broker Flood Protection Course would come in handy if you face questions from homeowners about flood scenarios or areas at high risk of flood, Filippi said Monday in an interview. “Or if [homeowners] say [to their broker], ‘My premiums are increasing, I cannot get insurance anymore, why is this?’ then this course helps out with that.”

If you are a broker in Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and Alberta, completing the Broker Flood Protection Course will get you continuing education hours. The course, available in both English and French, is intended to teach brokers both about the various home water damage insurance options and also how homeowners can mitigate the risk of water damage arising from seepage, overland flood, or sewer backup.

It was launched in February and about 1,000 brokers have taken it so far.

The Intact Centre offers a number of courses; among them is the 14-week Home Flood Risk Assessment Training Course, the target audience of which includes home inspectors, the real estate industry and brokers. That course costs $420.

The free 1.5-hour course Broker Flood Protection Course was developed in consultation with the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada.

“Our big piece when we were talking to IBAC was [that]…we wanted to have them bring in their expertise and say what do brokers really want to learn,” said Filippi.

You have to do all five modules in order to get CE credits. Before progressing from one module to the next, you have to get at least two of three on a quiz. If you fail the quiz, you have to go back and repeat it. Once you are done all five modules, you get a certificate.

Related: What’s new in 2020 with Intact Centre home flood risk assessment training

Advising clients on flood risk is extra work for brokers. But there is a concern that some homeowners are buying insurance directly online and might not get the same level of advice, said Filippi, so this course is “another tool in the tool belt.”

Brokers registering for the course will get an automatic email response from the Intact Centre team, and then will receive a specific link that is tailored to the registered individual. “You can keep clicking on that link, so you can start up and go through Module 1 and do it during your lunch hour, and if that’s all the time you had, then it saves your progress,” said Filippi.

The content includes the damage covered (and excluded) by home insurance.

“We talk to a homeowner and they will say, ‘Yes, I have flood coverage,’ and most of the time they do,” said Filippi. “But a lot of that is just if there is an accidental rupture of any of their pipes.

“Homeowners need to understand that if [water] is coming in through your block foundation, you probably don’t have coverage for that. Whereas if you have sewage backup, or overland flood through above-ground door openings and windows, there are optional coverages for that, and you should be looking into that as a homeowner if you haven’t already done so.”

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