After a wicked winter, IBC offers tips to homeowners about protecting their property this spring

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Halifax, March 7, 2011 – Data recently compiled by insurers indicates that a series of December 2010 winter storms have resulted in more than $50 million in insurance claims for water damage throughout Atlantic Canada. Residents in many parts of the region dealt with stormy weather and extreme amounts of snow throughout the rest of the winter months, too. With the mercury beginning to rise in some parts of the region, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) suggests homeowners take precautions now to reduce property damage from water and other hazards associated with a spring thaw.

“This winter, Atlantic Canada experienced a wide range of extreme weather conditions,” said Bill Adams, IBC’s Vice-President, Atlantic. “With snow, rain and wind striking more frequently and severely than normal in recent months, we all need to better prepare our homes and communities to withstand the increased threat of damage.”

While most people can’t wait to hang up their snow shovel for the season, IBC recommends picking it up one more time to make sure the spring thaw won’t put their properties in unnecessary danger.

As much as is reasonably possible, it is important to get accumulated snow away from the house, especially from windows. Homeowners should also check their property for obstructions that could prevent melting snow from draining away from their house, and clear a path for the water.

“It’s important to take preventative action at this time of year because damage caused by overland flooding is not covered by home insurance policies anywhere in Canada,” added Adams. “Sewer backup coverage, however, is usually available and can be purchased as an add-on to policies. Consumers should speak to their insurance representative to ensure they have the best coverage for their needs.”

Some other precautions homeowners can take to help prevent water damage to their property during a spring thaw include:

  • Move valuable items located in basements to higher ground.
  • Keep floor drains clear of obstructions.
  • Ensure gutters and downspouts are clear of debris.
  • *Install a sump pump; if they already have one make sure it’s in working order.
  • *Install a sewer backup valve to prevent water from entering their home.
  • Ensure there is proper grading around their home and address any concerns (i.e. ground sloping towards the house).

*Talk to your municipal government to clarify and local requirement before installing sump pumps and/or backflow valves.

Provincial and municipal governments in Atlantic Canada have made significant investments in flood protection and awareness in recent years to minimize damage caused by flooding. And emergency management offices in each province provide information on their websites about preparing for various disasters. Links to their websites are listed below:

For more information, questions or concerns about home, car or business insurance, consumers can visit www.ibc.ca or contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-800-565-7189 in Atlantic Canada.

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 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. The P&C insurance industry employs over 114,000 Canadians, pays more than $7 billion in taxes to the federal, provincial and municipal governments, and has a total premium base of $40 billion.

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