Canadian Underwriter

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

January 23, 2020   by Greg Meckbach

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Want to share basement flood horror stories with other brokers or home inspectors, and hear how industry peers tackled their problems?

The Home Flood Risk Assessment Training Course, launched in 2018, now has discussion sessions, said Daniel Filippi, program manager of resilience and adaptation at the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation.

“The discussions are pretty engaging,” he told Canadian Underwriter Monday. “It’s a bunch of home inspectors and insurance brokers getting together and saying, ‘What am I doing around the home?’ What are the horror stories they have had out in the field? What have they seen in terms of [how] flood risk has [impacted] certain homeowners and how they have tried to make sure that they can bridge the gap in terms of educating Canadians?”

The discussions allow professionals to let their peers know about basement flooding risk, and what can be done to prevent it, added Filippi.

Starting this year, the course will be offered more frequently. The partners running the Home Flood Risk Assessment Training Course include Seneca College, Sir Sandford Fleming College and the Intact Centre, a research centre at the University of Waterloo’s environment faculty that receives funds from Intact Financial Corp.

In launching the course, the Intact Centre aimed to help home inspectors give home buyers advice on basement flood risk reduction. The impetus for the centre was that some Canadian home inspectors have little to no formal training specifically on assessing basement flood risk.

But the Home Flood Risk Assessment Training Course is also aimed at home insurance brokers and realtors. Course content includes some things that homeowners can do to reduce basement flood risk without spending very much money.

“They can see what homeowners can do for free, what they can do for under $250, and then what they can do for over $250 [e.g. by hiring a licenced professional such as a plumber], said Filippi.

In addition to home inspectors, insurance brokers and realtors, students in the course have included representatives from all three levels of government, as well as technicians, engineers, policy analysts and contractors, said Filippi.

The course started in 2018 with in-class sessions at the Seneca College Newnham Campus, on Finch Avenue near Highway 404 in northeast Toronto. But now it’s all online, so anyone in Canada with Internet access can take it. The next 14-week session starts May 1. Registration costs $420.

No course is in session right now, but a session will be offered during the winter semester in 2020-21, Filippi told Canadian Underwriter Monday.

Filippi explained the rationale for starting an in-class course and then moving it exclusively online. “We wanted to test it in person, see what the feedback was from the students, and we were effectively able to work with Fleming College to make sure that everything brought over on to the online piece.”

If you want to take the course you can register through Fleming College. It is run through the OntarioLearn portal, through which the province’s colleges of applied arts and technology administer online courses. Several other colleges – among them Conestoga, Fanshawe, Durham, Mohawk and Niagara – also offer the course online, said Filippi.

The Intact Centre recommends several measures to reduce basement flood risk. For example:

  • ensure the downspout from the roof extends at least six feet away from the foundation;
  • if the home has a backwater valve, ensure it is in proper working order;
  • if the home has a sump pump, make sure it actually works properly and has a backup power source.

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