IBC urges better preparation to deal with natural disasters

VANCOUVER, Feb. 27, 2004 – In response to the Filmon report on the BC mountain fires, Insurance Bureau of Canada is recommending coordinated efforts to help lessen the impact of disasters.

“While BC has had many forest fires over the years, the large and persistent fires that hit Kelowna and Barriere were a new risk for the province,” says Lindsay Olson, Vice-President, British Columbia and Yukon, Insurance Bureau of Canada. “While we can’t stop the fires from happening altogether, we can take steps to ensure that they don’t become disasters,” says Olson. Insurers paid more than $200 million for claims associated with the fires that occurred in the summer of 2003.

Insurance Bureau of Canada is proposing the establishment of a natural disaster protection fund to better protect Canadians from risks such as wildfires and extreme weather. “Together, insurers, government and other stakeholders can better protect people in the future,” says Olson. “As a society, we need to invest in critical infrastructure and mitigation activities.”

IBC is recommending that governments invest annually to reduce future suffering and disaster recovery costs. “Government must also expand current response and recovery programs to invest in mechanisms to prevent the reoccurrence of extreme events,” adds Olson.

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. To view news releases and information, visit the media section of IBC’s website at www.ibc.ca.