Insurers urge government to prepare for more severe weather: Invest in critical infrastructure; revise building codes

TORONTO, February 5 – Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) President & CEO Mark Yakabuski recently called for a comprehensive strategy to adapt to the effects of increasingly severe weather.

“Since the 1970s, we have witnessed a twenty-fold increase in the cost of claims from extreme weather and geological losses. At the same time, we have greater density in our cities, higher rebuilding costs and more expensive contents,” Yakabuski said as part of the panel at the Climate Adaptation Expert Meeting hosted by the City of Toronto.

He added: “We are at a critical juncture where we must deal with this problem head on. Too many municipalities are struggling with infrastructure that is well on in years and is in desperate need of upgrading.”

IBC is calling on governments to review all critical infrastructure to ensure that our society is better able to deal with severe weather events in the future.

“The unfortunate reality is that infrastructure failure played a major role in every major “natural disaster” in Canada in recent memory, including the Ice Storm (January 1998), the Saguenay Flood (1996), and the Greater Toronto Area rainstorm (August 2006).

Yakabuski called on all governments to work together to:

  • Reinforce/improve infrastructure;
  • Strengthen building codes and build in climatic design values;
  • Consider sweeping land use revisions; and
  • Improve disaster management.

IBC is the lead sponsor for the Insurance Research Lab for Better Homes at the University of Western Ontario, a facility dedicated to testing building methods and making recommendations for improvements in building codes. The industry also funds The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction, a research-based organization that partners with the University of Western Ontario to reduce natural disaster losses.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada:

Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national trade association of the
property and casualty insurance industry. Its member companies provide nearly
95% of the private home, car and business insurance sold in Canada.