Outlines significant costs of climate change
Edmonton, AB (Nov. 26, 2015) – Today at an Economic Club of Canada event, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) outlined the significant costs of climate change to Canadian taxpayers, governments and businesses and, for the first time, called for a collaborative national flood program to be led by the private sector.
“Extreme weather events driven by climate change have increased in frequency and severity,” said Don Forgeron, President and CEO, IBC. “Storms and flooding in recent years have turned extreme and at times, tragic. That’s why mitigation and preparedness are vital and why IBC is stepping up to collaborate on a national flood program.”
As world leaders convene in Paris next week for the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, a topic of discussion will be the costs of climate change. Globally, the annual economic costs of disasters have increased five-fold since the 1980s, from $25 billion to $130 billion. Canada has not been immune to these costs. Federal disaster relief spending has risen from an average of about $40 million per year in the 1970s to $100 million per year in the 1990s, reaching over $600 million per year this decade. In 2010, it hit $1 billion, and in 2013 it reached a record $1.4 billion as a result of flooding in Alberta and Ontario.
“Clearly, storms and floods are already costing Canadians significantly – disaster relief spending has increased almost 40-fold in about 40 years. By taking action now, we can help minimize costs to taxpayers and better equip homeowners for the increased weather risks. We look forward to collaborating with federal and provincial governments to develop a coordinated, private-public response to a growing national problem,” added Forgeron.
Building a country resilient to flooding will require a multi-pronged approach. There is a need to upgrade aging infrastructure to enable it to withstand increased precipitation. It is also vital to inform Canadians of the physical and financial consequences of flood. And finally, there is a strong need for comprehensive research.
“IBC believes the backbone to good policy is solid research and data. That’s why we are happy to have formed a partnership to develop national flood maps. These maps will help appraise risk and prioritize mitigation efforts,” explained Forgeron.
The new flood maps and supporting data, developed in partnership with LexisNexis Risk Solutions, JBA Risk Management, DMTI Spatial and Brookfield RPS, will use the latest technology, local climate data and geospatial data, and will cover the entire country. They will clearly identify the cities and regions at risk of flooding, and the associated economic costs, as well as, the resilient areas and regions in Canada.
About Insurance Bureau of Canada
Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.
P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 118,000 Canadians, pays $6.7 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $48 billion.
To view media releases and information, visit the media section of IBC’s website at www.ibc.ca.