Brantford flood residents seek insurance help from IBC

Published: February 27, 2018

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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Early year flooding in Ontario regions are causing repercussions and affecting homeowners, who in turn are claiming from home insurance carriers. However, some have been left ruined as their home or tenant insurance does not cover overland flooding. Despite this, the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) says consumers are reporting various types of damage.

5,000 people have already been moved from their homes in Brantford after recent floods and a state of emergency has been in action since February 21. The floods were caused by unseasonably warm weather melting an ice jam on the Grand River.

The city has reported “at least 30-50 homes in the assessment area have confirmed water infiltration – verification will follow once inspections are fully completed as several properties still need to be entered.”

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) representatives are in Brantford to help residents through claims and advise them on their insurance coverage. The IBC says residents have described various damages caused by water.

“It was obvious from those conversations that there was a whole range of water damage that people suffered,” said Pete Karageorgos, IBC’s director of consumer and industry relations in Ontario. “In some cases, people had water in their basement, but there was no water around the outside of their homes. In other cases, they were immediately beside the river that in some spots the water there overflowed from the breakwall, which is fairly high up.”

Customers are finding insurance companies are cautious and asking questions about how water entered the home. Property and rental insurance policies have only included overland flood coverage for the last few years and consumers are still largely confused on if they are protected.

“I think the key thing is that people are now seeing the need, obviously, for this type of coverage,” said Karageorgos.

“People are a little more sensitive to the need and the possibility that they should be looking at it if they haven’t yet: sewer, flood coverage, overland flood coverage, a whole host of issues to protect their properties,” said Karageorgos.

“It’s going to be a challenge and it really drives the message home that IBC and the industry is working on, that we’re talking to the government, and the government needs to participate in a solution to help all Canadians with the challenge of the impact we’re seeing floods having on our homes and communities,” added Karageorgos.