Broker should seek flood map clarification from insurers

Published: November 1, 2019

Updated: November 4, 2019

Author: Luke Jones



Brokers should question insurance companies about the municipal data they use for flood maps when trying to find flood risk for a client.

“A lot of residents have indicated concerns with purchasing insurance coverage and having significant difficulty in finding coverage that meets their needs,” said Andrew Dowie, the City of Windsor, Ont.’s executive initiatives coordinator, in an interview.

Dowie was talking specifically about the risk of basement flooding caused by pluvial flooding, which is caused by heavy rainfall. Looking at his own city, Windsor, Dowie points out an August 2017 rain event resulted in over $124 million in insured damages, become one of the largest insurance losses of the year.

The City of Windsor responded to the event by joining four other Canadian municipalities to create a pluvial flood modelling pilot. Also involved in the development of the program were the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) and Canadian Water Network.

In the following study, “Improving Flood Risk Evaluation through Cross-Sector Sharing of Richer Data”, was finished in June but has not been released.

“We have a very strong geomatics group that continuously updates and populates mapping and adds the metadata within, so they know the elevations of meters and pump stations of all the sewers,” said Dowie. “So we offered that information as part of the study in order to collaborate and provide that additional level of detail for everyone participating in this project so that the circumstances in Windsor would be well known and understood.”

For Windsor, the city wants to understand how communities can manage if they know they are at risk from basement flooding.