BC government warns of black smoke health risk

Published: August 31, 2018



Over 500 wildfires are burning across British Columbia as the province heads towards are second consecutive record season, following 2017’s history-maker. BC is under a state of emergency as firefighting teams throughout the province battle over capacity to combat the flames.

Properties have been destroyed and communities evacuated. While the insurance losses have so far been relatively small, a thick smoggy smoke is falling on the province and the government is warning about a high health risk. The warning has been issued across Squamish, Whistler, and Nanaimo to the Okanagan, Fraser Valley, and even Metro Vancouver.

“First and foremost, anyone planning to travel to and from British Columbia during the active wildfire season should ensure they have their travel insurance policy in hand or at least have access to their policy, so they can read and review their coverage,” said James Sion, COO, Generali Global Assistance. “That should help them make determinations on what potential coverage they would have as they travel into those areas.

“Wildfires are treated like all other natural catastrophes. Once the fire has been named, reported and deemed official by local authorities, it can become a covered event, which means people with travel insurance can claim for trip cancellation, trip interruption and so forth. It’s important for insureds to know that once a fire is known, claims filed on a policy purchased after that date can be denied.”

Insurers have largely escaped a major catastrophe event, despite the current season already becoming the second worst on record.