Insurance Bureau of Canada reminds Manitoba residents to protect their belongings

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Overland flooding not covered by insurance

VANCOUVER, March 25, 2009 — With recent forecasts calling for above average spring run-off Insurance Bureau of Canada is reminding Manitoba’s homeowners to protect their belongings against overland flooding.

“With indications that a flood of a 1979 magnitude is likely along the Red River in Manitoba, it’s important for homeowners to make sure the spring thaw won’t put their properties in danger,” said Lindsay Olson, Vice-President, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, IBC.

The provincial and municipal governments have made significant investments in flood protection and awareness to minimize damage caused by flooding. In January 2009, Manitoba Water Stewardship updated its flood emergency action guidelines in anticipation of this year’s flooding. Sandbags and evacuation plans are ready, and planning is underway for closing certain highways and roads as water levels rise.

First and foremost, Olson encouraged all individuals in danger of flooding to take the proper measures to protect themselves and their loved ones. As well, she urged homeowners to take preventative action to minimize their losses and the amount of damage caused by potential floods. And she encouraged homeowners to move valuable items located in their basements to higher ground to prevent water damage during the thaw.

Preventative action is especially important because any damage caused by overland flooding or water seeping into the residence cannot be covered by home insurance.

“The purpose of insurance is to spread risk amongst many policyholders,” said Olson. “But overland flooding is a risk for only a small percentage of the population – that is, those who live in a flood plain. Since most homeowners are not exposed to the risk, and should not share in the cost, providing flood insurance would be unaffordable for the homeowners who might need it.”

She added: “However, some potential damage from flooding may be the result of sewer back-up. Coverage for this type of damage is available, but must be purchased as an add-on to a homeowner’s policy.”

Homeowners shouldn’t wait until a flood is affecting their area to review their home insurance policy and contact their insurance representative to verify what coverage they have. Also, for any questions or concerns pertaining to home, car or business insurance, please contact IBC’s Consumer Information Line at 1-877-772-3777 or visit

About Insurance Bureau of Canada

Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, car and business insurers. Its member companies represent nearly 95% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. The P&C insurance industry employs over 110,000 Canadians, pays more than $6 billion in taxes to the federal, provincial and municipal governments, and has a total premium base of $38 billion.

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