IBC announces pilot project to help Canadian communities adapt to weather extremes and fight urban flooding

Toronto, ON (Nov. 22, 2013) – “Municipalities and insurers, working together, are leading the fight to adapt to the new weather extremes and prevent flooding.” That’s the message Don Forgeron, President & CEO, Insurance Bureau of Canada, delivered in his luncheon address to business and government leaders at the Economic Club of Canada in Toronto on Nov. 21.

In his address, entitled Adaptation Through Innovation: The MRAT Story, Mr. Forgeron first explained how changing weather, resulting in more torrential rain and flooding, is overwhelming vulnerable sewer and stormwater infrastructure and causing sewer backups and basement flooding. Insured losses from natural disasters in 2013 – including the recent Alberta and Toronto floods – were close to $3 billion, the highest in Canadian history.

Mr. Forgeron then unveiled a new multi-million dollar technology created in partnership with several Canadian cities to help communities fight flooding.

Called MRAT (for municipal risk assessment tool), the technology combines information about municipal infrastructure, current and future climate, and insurance claims to give city engineers a new and revealing picture of where infrastructure is vulnerable now and will be vulnerable in 2020 and in 2050. The tool was developed with financial support through Natural Resources Canada’s Innovative Risk Management Tools Program.

Today MRAT is being launched as a pilot project in partnership with three municipalities – Coquitlam, BC, Fredericton, NB, and Hamilton, ON.

MRAT will help municipalities identify vulnerabilities in their sewer and stormwater infrastructure and prioritize improvements to prevent sewer backups and keep basements dry.

“MRAT is a true solution that speaks to the Canadian way of solving problems – leadership through innovation,” Mr. Forgeron said. “Insurers and municipalities have a key role to play in preparing their cities for a new era of severe weather and we are pleased to be partnering with these three forward-thinking cities in this pilot project,” he added.

How MRAT Works

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 approximately 90% of the private property and casualty insurance market in Canada. The P&C insurance industry employs 118,600 Canadians, pays more than $7 billion in taxes to the federal, provincial and municipal governments, and has a total premium base of $46 billion.

To view media releases and information, visit the media section of IBC’s website at www.ibc.ca and for IBC on Twitter follow @insurancebureau.

SOURCE: Insurance Bureau of Canada