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Insured price tag of B.C. flooding disaster hits $450 million

Monday, December 13th 2021, 2:25 pm - According to recently released preliminary estimates from Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ), the recent destructive flooding in B.C. has caused $450 million in insured damage.

The B.C. floods in November were quite disastrous, leading to numerous washed out roads and lands, resulting in the loss of human and animal lives.

And now we know just how costly they were financially.

According to recently released preliminary estimates from Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ), the damaging flooding caused $450 million in insured damage.

RELATED: How B.C.'s catastrophic rainfall, flooding was foretold days before

The disaster will be the costliest severe weather event in the province’s history, according to Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC). The prolonged event began with a series of atmospheric rivers near mid-November that brought unprecedented rain to southwestern B.C. over a multi-week period.

The storms generated devastating mudslides and flooded homes, farms and businesses. It also destroyed public infrastructure, including major highways, resulting in disruptions to supply chains amid local states of emergency. Considering the overall magnitude of the disaster, total economic losses are anticipated to be far greater than the insured deficit figure.

Abbotsford, B.C. flooding/Abbotsford Police Department/Twitter Abbotsford, B.C., flooding. (Abbotsford Police Department/Twitter)

“While the insurance damage stemming from these flood events is significant, the sad reality is that many residents impacted were located in high-risk flood areas and floodplains where flood insurance coverage is not available,” said Aaron Sutherland, vice-president of IBC Canada's Pacific region, in a news release.

“As a result, the overwhelming majority of costs for this disaster will be borne by government and taxpayers. As we continue to see the increasing impacts of our changing climate, it’s clear much more must be done to create a culture of preparedness and to build our resilience to the risks we face.”

GOVERNMENTS, COMPANIES COLLABORATE ON HOW TO DEAL WITH FLOODING

To better deal with the financial costs of flooding for residential properties in Canada's highest-prone areas, and enhance protection for the communities, IBC is working with the federal and provincial governments.

The insurance agency has contributed ideas to the installation of a new residential flood insurance program including a public-private partnership model, offering affordable insurance to residents in high-risk zones. B.C.'s recent floods are a "reminder of the urgency with which we must move forward in those discussions," IBC said in the news release.

“This year, British Columbians have seen firsthand the devastating impact our changing climate can have -- be it severe storms, wildfires or floods,” said Sutherland.

B.C. flooding/Jaclyn Whittal (Jaclyn Whittal)

“Insurance can help individuals recover financially, but the human impact is often irreparable. These disasters are also having an outsized impact on those most vulnerable and, as a result, we must greatly enhance our efforts to mitigate future climate change and to adapt to the new weather reality we face.”

In 2021, B.C. has been impacted by several destructive weather events that resulted in excessive insured damages. There were windstorms in January that yielded $134 million across Western Canada, the devastating summer wildfires that caused $155 million, and the recent flooding that generated $450 million, as per CatIQ.

Thumbnail courtesy of Kathy Williams-Parkinson/Facebook/Submitted.

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