We need to think hard about how and where we rebuild things after Hurricane Fiona: Glenn McGillivray
Many Canadians are assessing the damage caused by Hurricane Fiona, after strong winds and heavy rainfall whipped through Eastern Canada over the weekend.
In a note to clients Tuesday, Patrick Douville, vice president of insurance at DBRS Morningstar, said Fiona will likely go down as “one of the largest catastrophic events in history for Atlantic Canada.”
“Initial estimates indicate that insured losses will be in the $300 million to $700 million range for the industry,” Douville said in a report Tuesday.
As many individuals start to file their insurance claims, Amanda Dean, vice president of the Atlantic Region for the Insurance Bureau of Canada, said people who are experiencing problems caused by storm surge most likely won't be covered.
“Storm surge is just not available for home insurance policies at this point in time, and the reason for that is with a fast-changing climate, this leads to rising sea levels and eroding coastlines,” Dean said in an interview Monday.
“The risk modelling required by insurers to price storm surge, that type of coastal flooding coverage is nearly impossible so without accurate risk modelling, the risk is deemed too high at this point.”
Dean said there’s research being done into storm surge modelling right now, but “it's just not a product that's currently in place to respond to Hurricane Fiona.”
FIONA'S IMPACT ON REINSURANCE
Douville said Fiona could have an impact on how companies review their product pricing and reinsurance coverage for Eastern Canada.
“With rising global reinsurance losses, the cost of reinsurance has increased substantially in recent years,” Douville said.
He added that the labour shortage and inflation has increase the cost to repair property damage, which will play a big role in insurance claims with this event.
“These factors will require insurers to raise premiums to maintain their profit margins in the future.”
RETHINKING ABOUT REBUILDING
Many Canadians are still without power. As of Tuesday morning, there were 73,759 customers without power on Prince Edward Island, 3,810 customers in New Brunswick and 139,159 affected customers in Nova Scotia.
In an email to BNN Bloomberg, Newfoundland Power Inc. said restoration for impacted residents was completed Monday evening.
Glenn McGillivray, managing director at the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction, said the government needs to rethink how it is going to rebuild because it “doesn’t make sense to put everything back to the way it was before.”
“I think that, whenever a government or a bank is going to finance critical infrastructure, they should require that a climate assessment be done first and whatever comes up out of that assessment should be addressed,” McGillivray said in an interview Monday.
“We have to start doing these things (climate assessments); we can't just continue bopping down the road like always. We have to be more resilient and more robust in what we do.”
This story has been updated to remove a reference that stated sewer backups may not being covered by insurance