SYMPOSIUM TO HELP CANADIANS PREPARE FOR NATURAL DISASTERS

Toronto, Ontario, November 7, 2001 – Canadians need to
be equipped with the necessary tools to help them better prepare for natural disasters. To
aid in this process, a symposium entitled “Building Resilient Communities”
is taking place at the Sheraton Centre in downtown Toronto.

The symposium is a joint effort sponsored by
the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction in conjunction with the Insurance Bureau of
Canada and the University of Western Ontario, where public servants, insurance professionals and
academics will focus on how people can become better prepared when natural disasters strike.

“The three most expensive disasters in
our history (the Saguenay flood, the Manitoba flood and the ice storm) all occurred within
the last five years,” says Paul Kovacs, executive director of the ICLR. “We as
Canadians have to be better prepared. We’re here today to talk about problems and
more come up with workable solutions to take back to our respective organizations.”

At the conference, David Walters of Crisis
Management Specialists
will identify how to reduce the risk of terrorist damage to
commercial property. Dr. Jean Andrey from the University of Waterloo, will
present measures of the increased risk of road crashes during periods of heavy snow or
rainfall, and techniques to reduce accidents. Dr. Martha McCulloch from the
Maritime Weather Centre in Halifax will present new research that will reduce water
damage to homes, businesses and critical infrastructure in coastal communities. Harvey
Ryland
of the Institute for Business and Home Safety in Tampa will review the
program run by the U.S. insurance industry to recognize and promote the construction of ‘fortified homes’.

“With natural disasters we have a sense
that the forces of nature are beyond our control,” says George Anderson, President
and CEO of the Insurance Bureau of Canada. “There’s nothing personal about a
hurricane or flood or earthquake.”

The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction
– established in 1998 – is a coordinated effort of the Canadian insurance community, the
University of Western Ontario and other partners to reduce the loss of life and property
caused by severe weather and earthquakes. Through the identification and support of
sustained actions, the mission of the ICLR is to improve society’s capacity to adapt to,
anticipate, mitigate, withstand and recover from natural disasters. For more information,
visit the Institute’s website at www.iclr.org.

For information contact: Mary Devorski – Manager, External Relations – 416-362-2031