New Brunswick floods “historic” but not catastrophic

Published: August 20, 2018

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The spring floods that affected parts of New Brunswick are now being discussed potential “record setting” and “historic” despite not causing enough damage to be deemed a catastrophe event.

Catastrophe Indices and Quantification (CatIQ) categorises a cat event as one that deals over $25 million in property damage. According to the latest statistics on the New Brunswick storms, the resulting floods caused between $10 million and $25 million in damage. CatIQ says the floods were unprecedented, but only resulted in “notable event” status.

The late-April flood left 12,000 properties damaged by floods. Lisa Munn, recovery service manager with the New Brunswick Emergency Measures group says between 50 and 60 homes will have to be demolished.

Debates in the province have centred on property development on flood risk lands. In May, Craig Stewart, vice president of federal affairs for the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) argues the debate is arriving too late. He says authorities must act quickly to introduce new building regulations.

“This should have been done yesterday,” he said.

“Given lessons learned from flood events over the past few years, absolute priority should be given to changing zoning laws so that we stop putting people in harm’s way.”

Earlier this month, the federal government gave New Brunswick $39 million towards the recovery and ongoing flood mitigation. Amanda Dean, vice president of the Atlantic region for Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), says while not causing cat-level loss damage, the floods covered “quite an extensive piece of geography.”