Home owner course to boost flood detection skills could help insurers

Published: February 28, 2018

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



The insurance industry could solve a lot of home and tenant insurance problems by training home inspectors to understand risk of basement flooding. At a conference on Tuesday, a speaker told insurance professionals it is the “most positive action” the industry can take to stop flooding in homes.

Starting September 20, colleges in Ontario will begin offering a new course for home inspectors, training them to assess property for flood risk. The course was introduced by Blair Feltmate, head of the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation at the University of Waterloo. Feltmate was speaking during the Insurance-Canada.ca Technology Conference (ICTC) in Toronto.

“I was floored when I found out that home inspectors in this country receive virtually no training on basement flood risk or property flood risk assessment,” Feltmate said. “They receive training on roofing inspection, electricity inspection, heating, air conditioning, et cetera – virtually nothing on flood.”

After making its debut in Ontario this year, the course will be rolled out around Canada in 2019. Feltmate said that means 9,000 homes inspectors in Ontario and 40,000 around the country will be able to boost their skills.

During the course, home inspectors will get “much more insight in being able to provide direction for a homeowner at the point of purchase – what has to be corrected in this home to limit flood risk.”

“People are simply defaulting on their mortgages because they are out of their homes, they can’t afford to fix the flooded basement, they have to live somewhere else and the value of the house has diminishing – perhaps below the level which they actually owe on their mortgage,” Feltmate said. “This is the formidable challenge we need to address.”