Zurich (June 17, 2016) – Flood poses a risk to individuals, business and the public sector. Severe events in Canada can cause losses exceeding CAD 13 billion, with less than half of these covered by insurance. This leaves many families without the necessary funds to rebuild their lives if disaster strikes. In addition it delays economic recovery in the affected areas – an effect that hits even those whose homes are still standing.
Concerted action across the risk management chain that involves all key stakeholders – government, the insurance industry and homeowners – can strengthen flood resilience in Canada.
Download the complete report: The Road To Flood Resilience In Canada.
A grim reminder of an omnipresent threat
Between June 19 and 24, 2013, the greater Calgary area and parts of Southern Alberta were inundated by widespread flooding following days of torrential rainfall and severe thunderstorms. A state of emergency was declared and 26 neighbourhoods near the Bow and Elbow rivers were placed under a mandatory evacuation order. It was the largest evacuation order in Calgary’s history. Three people lost their lives and more than 100 000 people were forced to abandon their homes. The flooding of the Bow and Elbow rivers affected the Calgary city centre along with landmarks such as the Zoo and Stampede Park. Both the Saddledome, home of the NHL Calgary Flames, and the grounds of the famous Calgary Stampede suffered severe damage.
The total economic damage for the province of Alberta was devastating. Economic losses exceeded CAD 5 billion while insured losses totalled CAD 1.9 billion, making this event the costliest disaster in Canadian history, surpassing the 1998 Quebec Ice Storm.
Unfortunately, it was not the only large flood loss in 2013. Toronto also suffered extensive flooding only a few weeks later. The topic of flood was at the forefront of debate among Canadian insurers as well as dominating the social and political arenas. Both losses highlighted the devastating potential of flood perils and exposed the lack of an adequate risk transfer framework to protect homeowners.
Historically, flood is the leading cause of losses among all natural hazards. This is true both around the world and in Canada. No other natural peril has affected more people or caused greater financial strain on economies. The 2013 Calgary flood was only the most recent reminder of this reality.
About Swiss Re
The Swiss Re Group is a leading wholesale provider of reinsurance, insurance and other insurance-based forms of risk transfer. Dealing direct and working through brokers, its global client base consists of insurance companies, mid-to-large-sized corporations and public sector clients. From standard products to tailor-made coverage across all lines of business, Swiss Re deploys its capital strength, expertise and innovation power to enable the risk-taking upon which enterprise and progress in society depend.
Founded in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1863, Swiss Re serves clients through a network of about 70 offices globally and is rated “AA-” by Standard & Poor’s, “Aa3” by Moody’s, and “A+” by A.M. Best. Registered shares in the Swiss Re Group holding company, Swiss Re Ltd, are listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and trade under the symbol SREN. For more information about Swiss Re Group, please visit www.swissre.com/.