B.C. earthquake a reminder of need for emergency preparedness

Vancouver, BC (Dec. 30, 2015) – An earthquake that struck about 20 kilometres north of Victoria at 11:39 p.m. PT yesterday measured 4.3, reported Natural Resources Canada. While there have been no reports of injury or property damage, this latest quake illustrates, yet again, the need for British Columbians and other Canadians who live in seismically active areas to ensure they’re prepared for a major and damaging earthquake.

“We shouldn’t be lulled in to a false sense of security,” said Bill Adams, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) Vice-President, Western and Pacific. “More than 3,000 earthquakes occur in B.C. every year with no damage. But at some point, a big one will hit. It’s not a matter of if, but when it will happen.” He added, “It is vitally important that British Columbians use this latest quake as a wake-up call that preparation is absolutely vital,” he added.

Both B.C. and the Quebec City-Montreal-Ottawa corridor are prone to earthquakes. Natural Resources Canada estimates there is a 30% chance that a major earthquake will strike southwestern B.C. in the next 50 years. A 2013 study commissioned by IBC indicated that such an earthquake could result in $75 billion in overall economic losses.

The findings of a major survey commissioned by IBC showed that most Canadians in earthquake-prone areas are not prepared to handle a major earthquake, although many falsely believe that they are. This is why IBC and its members have made earthquake preparedness a key strategic priority for Canada’s insurance industry.

“We will continue to work with governments and other partners to help ensure that British Columbians are physically and financially prepared for a quake. But every British Columbian also has a responsibility to evaluate their own risk and ensure they’re prepared. We need to create a culture of earthquake preparedness in the province,” Adams said.

IBC is the major sponsor of the Great British Columbia ShakeOut, the country’s largest earthquake preparedness drill. This past October, more than 785,000 British Columbians participated in the drill. IBC also partnered with the province, eight municipal governments in the Greater Vancouver Area and FortisBC to bring to the region the Quake Cottage, a portable earthquake simulator that allows individuals to feel the shaking effect of an earthquake.

To view IBC’s Top 10 Tips to prepare for an earthquake, click here. To learn more about emergency preparedness, click here.

Helpful Links

Here is a list of helpful links to sites where you can learn more about earthquake threats and preparedness.

If you have questions about your insurance coverage, contact your insurance representative or IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.

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.

For more information, visit IBC online at www.ibc.ca. If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.

SOURCE: Insurance Bureau of Canada

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