Vancouver – One year ago, a series of atmospheric rivers brought unprecedented rain to southwest British Columbia (BC). The storms resulted in the tragic loss of life, as well as devastating mudslides, and flooded homes, farms and businesses.

A year after these events, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) commissioned exclusive polling by Pollara Strategic Insights that found 88% of British Columbians surveyed believe further action is needed to protect communities against the risk of flooding.

“With over $675 million in insured damage, last year’s flooding was the worst natural disaster in the history of this province,” said Aaron Sutherland, Vice-President, Pacific and Western, IBC. “As we continue to see the increasing impacts of our changing climate, it’s clear that much more must be done to enhance our resilience to these risks and build a culture of preparedness.”

IBC has been leading conversations with federal and provincial governments on ways to improve the resilience of communities and to better manage the costs of flooding for high-risk residential properties in Canada.

The province recently embarked on the BC Flood Strategy, which will provide a holistic look at flood risk management. This commendable work demonstrates the action needed to improve land-use planning, enhance flood defence infrastructure, and make better use of our natural environment to help protect communities moving forward.

While residential flood insurance is widely available for the vast majority of homeowners, it is more limited in areas of highest risk – as demonstrated by last year’s flood events. As a member of the Industry Task Team of the federal Task Force on Flood Insurance and Relocation, IBC put forward options to create a flood insurance program that would help make affordable insurance available to residents of high-risk areas.

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“British Columbia has been a leader in taking action to address climate change and build resilience to the new weather reality that we face,” said Sutherland. “Last year’s floods are a stark reminder of the devastating impact our changing climate can have and of the urgency to take action. By working together, governments and insurers can reduce the risk British Columbians face and provide the financial assistance necessary to help people recover after a natural disaster.”

Pollara Strategic Insights conducted an online poll of 801 randomly selected British Columbians from August 19 to September 6, 2022. Some highlights of the polling include:

 

  • A majority of British Columbians surveyed (58%) approve of the job governments have done responding to the natural disaster events that devastated communities across the province last year.
  • 54% of British Columbians surveyed feel their home is at risk from a natural disaster – including an earthquake, fire or flood – and believe they have the appropriate insurance coverage.
  • Nearly nine-in-ten surveyed feel that it is important for home buyers to have access to a database that provides information on flood-prone areas.
  • In a situation where there may be a risk of flooding, 68% of those surveyed said they would consider relocating to a safer area if the government paid market price for their home.

Quick Facts

Pollara Strategic Insights conducted exclusive polling on behalf of IBC from August 19 to September 6, 2022. The online survey of 801 randomly selected British Columbians (18+) who are home insurance policyholders and are at least partially responsible for their home insurance policy has a margin of error of +/- 3.5%.

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The devastating floods in southern British Columbia last fall are estimated to have caused $675 million in insured damage, according to the latest estimates from Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ).

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