The Co-operators expands flood solution to Quebec and Manitoba

Published: February 26, 2019

Updated: February 28, 2019

Author: Luke Jones

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Flood risk is one of the biggest risks facing homeowners, with many owning properties on land that cannot be covered by insurance companies. Provinces receive federal funding for flood risk mitigation, but the risk continues to grow. A recent study from the University of Waterloo shows 20% of Canadians are at risk from flooding.

The Co-operators, the first insurance company to provide a dedicated flood policy in 2015, has said it will pledge $600,000 towards a flood awareness program. Additionally, the company says it is expanding its comprehensive water insurance solution to Quebec and Manitoba.

“With the increase in frequency and severity of flooding in Canada, and the lack of flood insurance, it really has been a significant unmet need for Canadians in our communities,” said Tara Laidman, program director of flood initiatives. “In recent years, weather has contributed to record-level water damage in Canadian homes, and it’s a trend that we expect to continue.”

Laidman said it is important that the company can provide protection for all Canadians, even those under the most risk.

“Up until 2015, Canada was the only G7 nation without available residential insurance protection for overland flooding,” she told Insurance Business. “That’s what led The Co-operators to develop our comprehensive water flood endorsement. That insurance covers all clients, regardless of their risk. With that in mind, we first launched our products in Alberta in 2015 and then we went on to launch in Ontario in 2016. Then, this past April, we added storm surge coverage and we made it available in Nova Scotia and British Columbia at that time. In August of 2018, we made it available to the rest of Atlantic Canada, Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories and Yukon,” before finishing up by making it available in Quebec and Manitoba.

Despite this, it is worth noting that high risk properties are still not able to receive flood coverage from any company. This situation has led many to call for a government-backed flood insurance standard for areas most at risk. Many homeowners remain unaware that they live in designated flood zones and are not properly prepared for floods.

“We work with many communities and the government in order to try and get the word out to Canadians about flood risk, and making sure they understand exposure and understanding what they can do to help mitigate their risk,” said Laidman.