B.C. flooding was unprecedented and insurers could foot the bill

Published: June 3, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



The overflowing rivers that followed heavy rain in British Columbia have left flooding in the Okanagan Valley. One broker is calling the situation unprecedented and the floods became the worst on record for May.

Grant Stobbe of Okanagan Valley Insurance says the region has been hit by severe floods and he does not remember worse flooding despite being in the area since 1994. Stobble points out that many of the homes hit have never previously needed flood-proofing.

Evacuation orders quickly followed the flooding throughout British Colombia’s Okanagan Valley – and one broker is calling the overflowing rivers unprecedented. 

“On May 01, Wawanesa and Gore Mutual both added surface water to the policy. But Gore automatically added everybody and Wawanesa said we have to endorse everybody separately,” Stobble said.

“Gore took the proper approach, which was just adding everybody, but Wawanesa said ‘you can have it, you just have to add it on’ which is kind of poor.”

Despite unclear insurance systems in overland flooding, Stobbe believes insurance companies will pay out on claims, highlighting how flooding is a problem for the industry. Insurers are paying out and losing money on claims that are not concisely covered under policies.

“One company, because they don’t cover flooding on homeowners, won’t cover evacuation either,” Stobbe explained. “I think if it came to an evacuation that one company in particular – that had no evacuation covered because of flooding -I think they probably would even though they don’t have to. I think they don’t want bad press.”

The flooding for the region is unlikely to end with May’s Storm, and Stobble is predicting more to come.

“It hasn’t ended yet, there’s still a huge amount of snow on the mountains and we’re hitting 30 degrees here now, and all that snow is melting real fast,” Stobbe said. “The rivers are getting higher again. I went down to the lake today and it’s unbelievable to see in downtown Kelowna how high the water has risen. We’ve never seen that before.”