IBC President Outlines Significant Costs of Climate Change for Atlantic Canadians

Halifax, NS (Feb. 25, 2016) – Today at an Economic Club of Canada event, Don Forgeron, President and CEO of Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), outlined the significant costs of climate change to Canadian taxpayers, governments and businesses, calling for a collaborative national flood program.

“Extreme weather events driven by climate change have increased in frequency and severity, as seen right here in Atlantic Canada. Storms and flooding in recent years have turned extreme and at times, tragic,” said Forgeron. “Canada is not prepared for the increase in damage caused by climate change. As the only G7 country without a national flood program, Canadians, our government and the insurance industry have been left dangerously exposed to severe weather risks.”

The annual economic costs of disasters around the globe have increased five-fold since the 1980s, increasing from $25 billion a year in the ’80s, to $130 billion a year in the 2000s. Canada has not been immune to these escalating costs. Federal disaster relief spending has risen from an average of $40 million a year in the 1970s to $100 million a year in the 1990s, reaching over $600 million a year this decade. In 2013, it reached a record $1.4 billion, largely as a result of two flooding disasters, in Alberta and Ontario.

“By taking action now, we can help minimize costs to taxpayers and better equip homeowners for the increased weather risks,” continued Forgeron. “We look forward to collaborating with federal and provincial governments to develop a coordinated, private-public response to this growing national problem.”

Building a country resilient to flooding requires a multi-pronged approach. Aging infrastructure needs to be upgraded to enable it to withstand the increased precipitation. It is also vital to inform Canadians of the physical and financial consequences of flood.

IBC is proposing a framework for the financial management of flood risk, with shared responsibilities for the insurance industry, all tiers of government and consumers.

“A thoughtful, sustainable approach that puts Canadians at the centre of the solution cannot wait,” added Forgeron. “We need to build a new framework to guide our response to floods, building on the best practices in flood insurance in other G7 countries.”

For more information about IBC’s work on severe weather and flooding visit www.ibc.ca.

About 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 120,000 Canadians, pays $8.2 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $49 billion.

For more information, visit www.ibc.ca.

Source: Insurance Bureau of Canada