Ontario Power Outage: IBC Issues Consumer Advisory

TORONTO, Aug. 19, 2003 – Insurance Bureau of Canada is reassuring policyholders that claims submitted in the wake of last week’s power outage will not lead to cancellation of homeowners’ policies. Many insurance companies are taking extra steps so that claims related to the power outage are not even counted against a policyholder’s personal claims history. A survey of Ontario insurers shows that companies are receiving homeowners’ claims and handling these promptly.

“Insurers have been handling claims related to the power outage very promptly ever since the extent of the loss became apparent,” says Mark Yakabuski, Ontario Vice President, IBC. “Contrary to what the Consumers Association has suggested in recent media stories, companies will not cancel coverage merely because someone makes a homeowner’s claim related to the power outage or calls an insurance professional to confirm coverage under a policy.”

“In this time when people are still trying to get their lives back to normal, we want policyholders to feel comfortable contacting their insurers to discuss the details of their policies and any losses they may have sustained,” adds Mr. Yakabuski.

As is the case with any loss, policyholders should discuss their coverages and any deductibles with an insurance professional as soon as possible. Consumers are also advised that these losses should be well documented. “Wherever possible, make a list of any damage you have suffered. In the case of food that has been discarded, for example, it’s best to take a photograph of the foodstuffs before they are thrown out,” Yakabuski says.

Events of this magnitude are not new to insurers. In 1998, in the wake of the Ice Storm that affected Eastern Ontario and Quebec, the insurance industry expeditiously paid over 700,000 claims valued at more than $1.6 billion. “Last week’s power outage had widespread implications throughout Ontario,” says Yakabuski. “Insurers are well aware of that fact and, in response, have been handling inquiries and claims from their concerned policyholders.”

Consumers with questions are also encouraged to contact Insurance Bureau of Canada’s Consumer Information Centre in Toronto at 800 387-2880 or (416) 362-9528.

Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national trade association of the private property and casualty insurance industry. It represents more than 90% of the non-government home, car and business insurance in Canada.