Pictured left: Sharon Ludlow, president, Aviva Insurance Company of Canada
Flooding has caused the greatest aggregate amount of property damage in Canada, according to the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR).
With approximately 20 per cent of the world’s fresh water located in Canada, floods are the most frequent Canadian natural disaster, averaging almost one natural disaster-level flood per year from 1980-2010.
“Tens of thousands of Canadians have suffered losses from water damage in recent years,” said Aviva Insurance Company of Canada president Sharon Ludlow in a press release.
The Alberta floods of 2013 caused four confirmed fatalities and damages exceeding $5 billion. Thirty-two local states of emergency were declared, and over 100,000 people were displaced throughout the region.
For insurance companies, this was the costliest disaster in Canadian history, costing them $1.7 billion, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).
The most costly disaster in Ontario’s history came in the same year: in a preliminary estimate from the IBC, the Greater Toronto Area floods of 2013 cost insurance companies over $850 million.
And it’s only getting worse: since the 1950s, the average yearly rainfall in Canada has increased 12 per cent—that’s an average of twenty more days of rain per year.
Until now, this increasing risk has not been addressed by Canadian insurers. There hasn’t been an option for Canadian homeowners to protect themselves from the risk of flood. While extended coverage has existed for things like sewer backup, there’s been a huge gap in addressing the risk of overland water.
Aviva Canada is the first to step forward and address this problem. Starting in May 2015, Aviva Canada is offering overland water protection for Alberta and Ontario residential property owners and tenants, with coverage expanding to other provinces throughout 2015.
“We’re proud to be the first insurer to offer overland water protection through our home insurance policies,” Ludlow said. “We will continue to collaborate with our industry partners such as the Insurance Bureau of Canada, the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction and governments at all levels, as well as representatives of our broker network.”
The only types of flooding that will continue to be excluded are those resulting from tidal waves, tsunamis, or hurricanes.